Blues Therapy ?the Doctors of Rhythm and Blues?

Blues Therapy & Jazz Johnnie Riles, 954-709-5670 Who are we? An experienced and eclectic group. Johnnie Riles, saxes Our founder grew up in Fort Lauderdale and has played the horn for four decades, since his days as a kid in short pants. He honed his skills in the marching band at Tuskeegee Institute. When he came home, Johnnie started a band but then got the chance to go on the road backing R&B greats Sam and Dave. After some wild times, he came home to settle down and hook up with local bands, including guitarist Joey Gilmore. In 1993, Johnnie decided to form his own band, and Blues Therapy was born. He has kept it going through thick and thin, while at the same time, expanding his playing into jazz and smooth instrumentals. Lee Johnson, vocals, percussion Lee has been with the band almost since Day 1. Here's a guy with almost a half century of singing under his belt, and his roaring baritone is as powerful and manly as ever. Lee came up in Tallahassee and made his way to Miami in the 1960s, as a singer and DJ. He was a regular around Miami Beach nightclubs and gyms, including one that was the home training base of some young kid named Cassius Clay. He met up with Johnnie through mutual musical friends, and in short work, Lee became the front man for Blues Therapy. Mike Zinna, guitar, vocals Every good band should have a little Noo Yawk in it, and Mike is it for us. He's the guy out there on edge, pushing us to run faster, jump higher and play better than before. Mike grew up on rock in Queens and Manhattan, but was smitten by the awesome finger-style jazz of Joe Pass. He studied under teachers such as Joe Monk, and played gigs all over the Big Apple (Bitter End, Waldorf Astoria). After moving south, he hooked up with Johnnie in the early days of the discovering that all his jazz had made his blues even better. Like the complex scent of a good wine, his blazing solos carry overtones of sophisticated bebop. Les Blachut, keyboards, vibraphone, steel-pans ( Any kind of music -- jazz, blues, pop, swing, polka, reggae, world music, church hymns -- Les is playing it in South Florida. As the only full-time musician in the group, Les dashes from gig to gig with a busier schedule than James Brown himself. Les grew up in Krakow, Poland, and put himself through the Berklee College of Music in Boston, graduating in 1994. He played trumpet and tympani in the Brampton Symphony Orchestra in Canada. Les came to South Florida and found his way to the Jazz Survivors, where Mike was venting his bebop self. Mike and Johnnie quickly grabbed him up for the blues project, and Les now has a venue to show off the CC Rider side of his personality. Bob LaMendola, bass ( Bob's musical career sprouted from a twisted version of 1960s suburban childhood. Boy hears Beatles, boy buys guitar, boy can't play so good. Years later, boy tries bass, boy discovers his musical calling. Bob thumped out rock, blues and jazz in his hometown of Rochester, NY, then Maryland and now Fort Lauderdale. He and Mike hooked up in 1996 for a jazz project called Three Bop, which later morphed into the Jazz Survivors. They recruited Les to play vibes. When Blues Therapy had an opening for a bassist, Mike persuaded Johnnie to give Bob a tryout. He's still here, kicking out the low notes that hold up the soloists. Jeff Babick, drums The newest member of Blues Therapy is no newcomer. Jeff has been with us since early 2003, and he drives the band with a seldom-encountered combination of raw force and finesse. Jeff hails from the great blues city of Chicago (he even looks like Mike Ditka), but he really grew up as a child prodigy in big bands. As a kid, he was the regular drummer supplying the pulse for large dance groups that played at Polish weddings and parties. Here in South Florida, Jeff has starred in countless groups playing rock, jazz, pop and even country music. Now he gets to prove his blues credentials.

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