You have to have a legend at a blues festival, right? With more than 58 albums to his name including some on the legendary Chess Records label along with performances with Muddy Waters, Rolling Stones and Howlin’ Wolf under his belt-Henry Gray is that legend. He is also credited with helping define the sound of the Chicago blues piano. Gray has watched much music history unfold before his eyes, from his first studio session with Jimmy Rogers in 1952, to playing onstage with Elmore James the night he passed away and performing at Mick Jager’s 55th birthday party. In his 87 years on this earth, the past twenty have been amongst the most productive for the bluesman. He has released albums on Blind Pig Records, was nominated for a Grammy, toured Europe, was in Martin Scorsese's seven part film The Blues and starred in the independent film “The Glass Chord”. Gray has performed at nearly every New Orleans Jazz Fest and also many other revered festivals in the states and on the international circuit. Gray will bring his classic ‘Chicago by the way of Louisiana’ blues piano sound to the Sin City Soul and Blues Festival as a special duet set with his friend Bob Corritore.
Bob Corritore was born in Chicago in 1956 and was playing harmonica by age of 12. Soon he was sneaking in or attending concerts by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Billy Boy Arnold. He would become friends with and learn from many of the touring and hometown blues musicians. During the 70’s and 80’s he worked as a session musician, touring artist and producer. Corritore’s greatest contributions have happened in the town of Phoenix where he moved in the early 80’s. Corritore started a blues radio program on KJZZ in 1984 called Those Lowdown Blues
, which is still on air to this day. Bob played around Phoenix and the Southwest before opening his own club, The Rhythm Room, in 1999. There he would back many of the musicians coming through the club and many of these sessions would be released on Hightone Records with him on the harp and as producer on the compilations. In 2001, Corritore co-produced fellow harmonica player Kim Wilson’s album, Smokin’ Joint
, which was nominated for a Grammy the following year. In the past decade Corritore has been picking up many acclaims and much recognition. His constant performing, producing and recording has found him an unlikely hero in the city of Phoenix. The Mayor of Phoenix declared September 7th, 2007 as ”Bob Corritore Day” and he has since been nominated and has won multiple Blues Music Awards. In 2007 he was also awarded the “Keeping the Blues Alive” award from the Blues Foundation.
“On the all-star session, Corritore released Gray's rendition of Memphis Minnie's "Everybody's Fishing", Howlin' Wolf's "How Many More Years" and Gray's reprisal of his Excello tune, "Showers Of Rain". These three songs showcased the fact that Henry Gray was still a vibrant pianist and blues singer…”Delta Snake Daily Blues
“Gray's still got the chops. He tears through the instrumental "Henry's Houserocker," dancing atop the solid support of pros Chism and Paul Thomas (who splits bass duties with John "Pops" McFarland)”-Blues Review
“Bob Corritore is a fine harmonica player --- particularly notable for his ability to adapt to a wide range of stylistic situations, from vintage Chicago blues to romping bayou rock --- but it's his lineup of guest stars that makes this collection intriguing.” Living Blues
2006-National Heritage Fellowship Award-National Endowment for the Arts
1999 Grammy Awards-Nominee-Best Traditional Blues Album
2010-Blues Music Awards-Nominee-Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year
2013-Best Instrumentalist-Harmonica-Nominee-Blues Music Awards
2011-Best Historical Album of the Year-Blues Music Awards
2011-Best Instrumentalist-Harmonica-Nominee-Blues Music Awards
2011-Best Harmonica Player –Living Blues