About Sam Rudin

With the rhythmic intensity of an entire band, Sam Rudin attacks and caresses the keyboard, romping through the whole range of 20th century American music. He can evoke the spirit of Fats Waller, Oscar Peterson, Mose Allison, and Jerry Lee Lewis…sometimes all at the same time. He is also a compelling vocalist whose rough-hewn voice conveys both drama and humor.

A musical historian, he moves from blues to be-bop, and from ragtime to rock ‘n’ roll, with amusing and educational anecdotes that help the listener make the connections.

And he is an exciting, high energy performer, whose enthusiasm on stage is as clear as his love for the blues, jazz, and country traditions from which his music comes.

Sam has worked with all types of musicians, playing rock ‘n’ roll with Chubby Checker, western swing with Back in the Saddle, classic blues with Frankie Lee, and slick pop-soul with Sister Sledge. He has even worked with bluegrass great Frank Wakefield, who has proclaimed Sam to be the only bluegrass pianist in the world.

But it was his solo performances that gained him his earliest renown. He is equally at home on a big concert stage or a small intimate coffee house. He has opened shows for such diverse talents as blues greats Albert King and Taj Mahal, pop stars David Crosby, Jerry Garcia, and Maria Muldaur, country rocker Jerry Jeff Walker, and jazz vibist Bobby Hutcherson.

Later on, he gathered some of California’s finest musicians to form Hurricane Sam & the Hotshots, a band dedicated to finding the line between blues and jazz, and then stomping all over it.

These days, Sam is best known as the owner/creator of The Back Room. Fulfilling his dream to create “the perfect place to play music,” this small but mighty venue now hosts performers from around the world.


Lee Hidlebrand, East Bay Express