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Variety Keeps Sax Man In Roomful Of Blues

Of the Oakland Press

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Only one member of Roomful of Blues has been with the band since its inception in 1967. Asked why, saxophonist Rich Lataille only says “That’s a very good question,” and laughs.

“Everybody wants to know that,” says Lataille, 55, who’s seen 45 other members pass through the Rhode Island band’s ranks. “We’ve had quite a bit of turnover over the years. There’s been a few times when we’ve had a huge turnover, several people leaving at once.

“So I feel like even though I’ve been in Roomful of Blues all this time, it’s been like a bunch of different bands. It keeps it fresh when you get different players in and out.”

Lataille wrote the title track for Roomful’s latest album, “Raisin’ a Ruckus,” which features a new singer (Dave Howard) and rhythm section. But earlier this year, the group suffered the kind of turnover it would rather avoid when trumpeter Bob Enos, a 27-year veteran, died on the road.

“It was a surprise, but in a way it wasn’t,” Lataille says. “Bob lived a pretty hard life. He had a history of heart disease in his family, but in a way you never expect that to happen to you. “It was tough to have it happen on the road, especially when we were in the middle of doing a tour. But you’ve got to continue what you’re doing. We had a Blues Cruise right after that, and the whole cruise was like a memorial to Bob. We were able to raise a lot of money for his family and everything, so that was a nice way to be able to mourn and celebrate him at the same time.”

Roomful of Blues performs Friday (Feb. 15) at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18. Call (248) 544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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