Known worldwide as "The New York Blues Queen," vocalist, harp player, songwriter and producer Roxy Perry is all about giving back to her fellow musicians and supporting local artists despite her living legend status. In fact, Perry brings the blues to Stamford every Wednesday night with her "Monster Jam" sessions at Monster B's Bar and Grille in Glenbrook.
Every Wednesday night beginning at 8:30 pm, both aspiring and accomplished musicians are welcomed to perform onstage, and after attending a session, this reporter has become hooked.
A child prodigy, Perry began her musical career at age nine when she performed her first major concert at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. By her late teens, she was working six nights a week with her 10-piece soul band at the Peppermint Lounge in New York City, and eventually began touring with established groups, including Gladys Knight & the Pips, Iron Butterfly and Rare Earth.
Perry launched her blues career in the 1980's where she became known for her electrifying live performances in clubs, concert halls and festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad. In recent years, she has appeared on concert bills with Leon Russell, Marcia Ball and Koko Taylor to name a few.
As a recording artist, Perry has performed, produced and written material for four highly acclaimed CDs, and has received numerous accolades and awards, including an induction into the Blues Hall of Fame. But for Perry, the weekly sessions at Monster B's in is about letting local musicians shine.
"It's not about me," she said. "The jam session has created a musician's community and given them a resource to perform on a big stage to a receptive audience of listeners and peers. Many new friendships and bands have been discovered and created through this jam. Musicians of all levels are improving, networking, sharing tech and musical info.
There is a reliably high level of music going on at this jam, which has drawn both listeners and players from near and far."
Some of the artists that appeared that night included powerhouse singer Billy Foster, soulful guitarist Fred Clark, Joe Meo on smokin' sax and Dave Anastasia on bluesy bass. These players are not to be missed and appear at these sessions regularly. And each week, Perry invites a guest band, and on this night Otis and The Hurricanes appeared featuring Chris Cross on guitar, Joe Najmy on keys, Bob Fusco on bass and Mike Marble on drums, who visibly and audibly rocked the house with bluesy versions of tunes by Etta James and Eric Clapton.
Musicians travel from as far as New Jersey and Long Island to attend these jam sessions, and recently, The Fret Notz, hailing from Watertown, took the coveted guest spot. Bobby Pickett, singer/songwriter of The Notz impressed his audience with burning electric violin along with Kevin Templeton on drums and John Lebel on bass. "Roxy's jam is a great way for bands that are not from the Stamford area to showcase themselves, Pickett said.
On Dec. 11, Perry will be bringing her own concert band to Monster B's for a "Super Jam" that will be recorded for airplay on KCOR during Christmas week. For more details about this session and others, visit www.roxyperry.com or The Weekly Boogie Blog at http://theweeklyboogie.wordpress.com/