Sam Rudin, who is of course the creator and owner of The Back Room, is also one of the most exciting pianists you are ever likely to hear. Sam attacks and caresses the keyboard, romping through the whole range of 20th century American music. He can evoke the spirit of Fats Waller, Oscar Peterson, Mose Allison and Jerry Lee Lewis...sometimes all at the same time. He is also a compelling vocalist whose rough-hewn voice conveys both drama and humor.
Rudin’s first gig under his own name as a bandleader came when he was 24 and it proved to be ill-fated. He and his group had been hired to play on a cruise ship. They’d been at sea only a day when a hurricane struck off the North Carolina coast, destroying all of the band’s equipment.
After that incident, some of Rudin's musician friends, referring also to his high-energy, can't-sit-down performing style, started calling him Hurricane Sam. Eventually he embraced the moniker and launched a career as a solo performer, earning a reputation for bringing the rhythmic intensity of an entire band, and for utilizing every possible genre of American music "from blues to be-bop and from ragtime to rock & roll," as some early publicity put it. When he formed a band several years later to concentrate on that blues/jazz borderline, they were "Hurricane Sam and the Hot Shots."
From 1990 to 2008, the band could be found in clubs, concerts, and jazz and blues festivals throughout the state, and was a particular fixture at Berkeley's late, lamented Anna's Jazz Island. But the financial troubles of 2008 made the festival gigs a lot harder to find, and Anna's closed down, and other life events intervened...so Sam started performing less and less, and the band not at all, and Sam started thinking about the ideal music venue, and wouldn't it be nice if he could put something like that together.
And now here we are, years later, and The Back Room is a reality. It is definitely time for the Return of Hurricane Sam & the Hotshots!
And who are these Hotshots?
JEFF ERVIN (SAX)
Years ago, Jeff was playing classic rhythm & blues with the Zazu Pitts Memorial Orchestra. More recently, he has been touring the West Coast and Europe with the classic swing of Stompy Jones. Along the way he has recorded with Bill Withers and Taj Mahal, among others. He’s a versatile pro, but more than that—Jeff knows how to wail. When he steps up to the mike he blows the house down, and there are plenty of folks who say he is the most exciting saxophonist they’ve ever seen.
JIMMY HOBSON (DRUMS)
Jimmy spent his early years carving out a name for himself in the highly competitive world of Los Angeles recording sessions. He earned several gold records there, and his long and varied list of credits include Billy Preston, Hall & Oates, Evelyn “Champagne” King, and even Celine Dion. When he came to the Bay Area, he joined Tom Rigney in the Sundogs, which subsequently became nationally known for their blend of zydeco and rock.
JOEL KRUZIC (BASS)
When Joel was fresh out of school (The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in NYC) he met up with the aforementioned Jeff Ervin, who needed a bass for his North Bay based band The Acrosonics. Jeff soon discovered that Joel was not only skilled beyond his years at a variety of jazz and blues styles, he had a genius for blending them together in just the right proportions to stay on the jazzy side of blues, and the bluesy side of jazz. Since this was exactly what Sam needed, Jeff made an enthusiastic recommendation, resulting in Joel's debut with the Hotshots this past Fall. It was a big success, and we are glad to have him back again.
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available at the link below. Doors open one half hour before show time. We accept cash only at the door (ATMs are nearby).
The Back Room is an all-ages, BYOB (for those 21+) space, dedicated to (mostly) acoustic music of all kinds. You are welcome to bring your own adult beverage with no additional corkage fee. If you need more information, or have any questions, please call us: #510-654-3808. Thank you for your support!