Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

R & B group lands weekly gig at Tucson nightspot

George Howard (third from left) and his band perform original material and old school R&B.

George Howard (third from left) and his band perform original material and old school R&B.

The Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Soul Review of George Howard is moving into the über fantasy nightspot Pearl for a weekly gig.

Howard and his five-man band will be pumping live music into this glittery boite best known until now for its DJ parties massaging the turntables with sensual recorded beats.

“We want to start bringing more bands on stage in Tucson,” says Howard, a drummer by trade but now the show’s singer and out-front personality. “The city needs to be hearing more local musicians. So many good players live here.”

Howard’s Soul Review has been a long-running Saturday night attraction at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. The bandleader is banking on fans who need a midweek hit of his high-energy sound.

The plan is for his R&B Soul Review to do full-blown shows at Pearl while also playing a hit list of old school Motown and R&B for dancing. The showcase will feature some of the band’s original material, as well.

Howard’s R&B Soul Review is the culmination of a career that began more than 35 years ago when the young drummer played in Tucson’s Subterranean Blues Band.

It was during the 1980s that Howard made his mark driving the Statesboro Blues Band, the busiest band in the Baked Apple. They worked concerts as special guest artists with such neon marque names as Charlie Musselwhite, Albert Collins, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley and Kenny Neal.

In 1991 the ambitious drummer/bandleader decided to step out front as a showman. He put together George Howard and the Roadhouse Hounds. The new band played a rocking version of the blues, expressing Howard’s lifetime love for the gutty modern blues sound of the Rolling Stones.

With the Hounds, Howard began working exclusively as a singer and entertainer. In recent months his show business career started coming full cycle by playing some blue-collar lounge dates that featured the raw power of special guest sax man Bobby Keys, who toured with the Stones during their big hit years in the 1970s.

To keep the Soul Review’s energy pushing the red line, Howard has included arrangements on some of Keys’ fat sax workouts in the band’s regular songbook. Rumors are strong that Keys will be stopping by Pearl whenever he’s in town, joining his buddy Howard onstage in that R&B Soul Review.



What: George Howard and his R&B Soul Review

When: 8:30-11:30 p.m. Thursdays

Where: Pearl, 445 W. Wetmore Road (at North Oracle Road)

Price: $5 cover, $1 off for employees of Raytheon, Intuit and University of Arizona students with ID

Info: 820-2566, www.pearltucson.com

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