East Providence-based band ‘Rizzz’ among music hall of fame inductees

Ten artists are included in the Class of 2017

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PAWTUCKET – The East Providence-centric band “Rizzz” is among the Class of 2017 inductees to the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame, it was announced during a press conference held Friday, Feb. 17, at the RIMHOF Museum located in the Hope Artiste Village.

A total of 10 artists received the honor including Artie Cabral, Phil Greene, Dan Moretti, Neutral Nation, Billy Osborne, Plan 9, Frank Potenza, Throwing Muses and The Wild Turkey Band/Hometown Rockers.

It was also announced that this year’s induction ceremonies and concert events will take place on three days – April 23, April 29 and April 30 – and will take place at two locations as RIMHOF celebrates its sixth year of operation.

Rizzz was founded in 1973 as guitarists David Tanury and Jim Tait and drummer Rick Couto of the Riverside underground band “Powerhouse” joined forces with saxophonist Bob Weisberger, Joe “Klem” Klimek on harmonica and sax and bassist Kenn Reynolds.

Their repertoire combined original songs by Tanury and Tait with the Soul/R&B, Jazz and improvisatory elements found in Jam Band Music (Santana, the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers) and Roots Music/Americana (The Band, Little Feat, NRBQ) before either of those genres had a name.

They hit upon a unique style which immediately struck a chord with the public and are now considered to be one of the finest and most successful bands in Rhode Island music history.

Rizzz began selling out the biggest clubs in the state and were soon joined by pianist Jerry Xavier. After a shakeup in 1978, Tanury, Klimek and Reynolds were joined by three new players, keyboardist Paul Sauvageau, guitarist Richard Herzog and drummer Gary St. Germain. The new lineup didn’t miss a beat and leaned even more heavily towards originals by Tanury, Klimek and Couto.

Although Rizzz became a major college draw and showcased all over the Northeast, a record deal failed to materialize and they called it quits in 1981. However, their no compromise approach became a template for the exploding R.I. original music scene of the 1980s and their influence is still felt 35 years after they disbanded.

This year’s Jazz and R&B inductions will take place on Sunday, April 23, at 2 p.m., at The Greenwich Odeum, 59 Main St, East Greenwich. Being honored on April 23 will be Artie Cabral, Dan Moretti, Billy Osborne and Frank Potenza. Tickets for the April 23 event at the Odeum are $20 and will include a performance by all of the inductees backed by an all-star trio consisting of pianist Tim Ray and 2015 Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame inductees Marty Richards on drums and Marty Ballou on bass. Tickets for the Jazz and R&B Inductions can be purchased at greenwichodeum.com .

There will also be two rock induction concerts held at The Met on the following weekend. On Saturday, April 29, at 8 p.m., the 2017 RIMHOF Rock Induction Concert – Part I will feature Throwing Muses, Neutral Nation, and Plan 9. Sunday’s April 30 event will include the unveiling of the 10 new inductee exhibits followed by the 2017 RIMHOF Rock Induction Concert – Part 2 featuring Rizzz, Phil Greene, and The Wild Turkey Band / Hometown Rockers beginning at 3 p.m.

The Unveiling Ceremony for all 2017 RIMHOF Inductee exhibits takes place at 2 p.m. in the Hall of Fame itself, located within the Hope Artiste Village complex, 999 Main St.

“The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and concerts have become the place to be and be seen at as we continue to showcase the fascinating history of Rhode Island’s musical heroes. The events are a virtual ‘who’s who’ of Rhode Island music history,” said Robert Billington, Chair of RIMHOF.

Tickets for both the April 29 and April 30 events at The Met are $20.00 in advance and $25.00 at the door. The 2 p.m. unveiling of the inductee exhibits is free and open to the public; a ticket will be required for entrance to the 3 p.m. concert in The Met. Tickets for the April 29 and April 30 concerts at The Met can be purchased at rhodeislandmusichalloffame.com. All tickets will go on sale starting February 27.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.