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Dubbing his swinging approach "rock-a-boogie," pianist Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88s have revived the jump blues approach of the '40s and '50s. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Mitch Woods moved to San Francisco in 1970. While he was growing up in Brooklyn, he studied both jazz and classical music, but when he relocated to the Bay Area, he primarily played jump blues and R&B. San Franciscan guitarist HiTide Harris introduced Woods to the joyous jive of Louis Jordan, and the pianist's musical tastes were transformed. Between 1970 and 1980, Woods performed as a solo artist, gigging at a number of local clubs. In 1980, he formed the Rocket 88s, featuring Harris on guitar, and four years later, the band released their debut album, Steady Date, on Blind Pig. The album led to concerts at national blues clubs and festivals, as well as several European dates in 1987. In 1988, Woods and the Rocket 88s released their second album, Mr. Boogie's Back in Town, and embarked on another round of shows in America, Canada, and Europe. Three years later, their third album, Solid Gold Cadillac, appeared. Woods and the Rocket 88s continued to tour and perform in the '90s, releasing their fourth album, Shakin' the Shack, in 1993. Jump for Joy was issued in early 2001.
Mitch Woods (born April 3, 1951, Brooklyn, New York, United States) is an American modern day boogie-woogie, jump blues and jazz pianist and singer. Since the early 1980s he has been touring and recording with his band, the Rocket 88s. Woods calls his music, "rock-a-boogie," and with his backing band has retrospectively provided a 1940s and 1950s jump blues style.
Woods got his start playing clubs near the State University of New York Buffalo campus. He moved to San Francisco in 1971.
Originally a student of jazz and classical music, on relocation to the West Coast, Woods started playing jump and rhythm and blues. Upon hearing Louis Jordan's jive, Woods played throughout the 1970s as a soloist at local clubs. In 1984, Blind Pig released the debut album of the Rocket 88s, the band he had formed with HiTide Harris four years earlier. Steady Date with Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88s led to a national concert tour, including the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1985, as well as several European engagements. In 1988, they issued their second LP, Mr. Boogie's Back in Town.
In 1991 their third album, Solid Gold Cadillac, was released, followed by Shakin' the Shack (1993). Woods, capable in four styles of piano playing, Chicago blues, Kansas City boogie-woogie, West Coast jump blues and the poly-rhythmic accents of New Orleans, got the opportunity to play with some of his musical heroes, when he recorded his 1996 Viceroy album, Keeper of the Flame. Their next album, Jump for Joy, appeared in 2001.
The 2006 release, Big Easy Boogie featured veteran New Orleans musicians backing Woods. In 2007 Woods was nominated for the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year Award at the Blues Awards in Memphis, Tennessee, presented by the Blues Foundation.
Latterly he and his band toured with the Efes Pilsen Blues Festival.