Sadly, this morning's headlines provide an opportunity to combine two Star Maker themes: "All That Jazz" and the recent "In Memoriam." Tom Ardolino of NBRQ passed away yesterday.
The story of how Adrolino came to play drums for NRBQ is an inspiring one for groupies and lurkers everywhere. From his Wikipedia biography: "Ardolino was initially a fan of the band, and began corresponding and trading tapes with keyboardist and co-founder Terry Adams. On one occasion, original NRBQ drummer Tom Staley did not feel up to returning for an encore, so Adams invited Ardolino to fill in....When Staley decided to leave the band in 1974, his bandmates agreed that Ardolino was the natural choice as his successor."
Adrolino went on to play with NBRQ from 1974 until it went on long-term hiatus in 2004.
Throughout its long run, the New Rhythm and Blues Quartet did not limit itself to R&B (nor to having just four members on stage). The band's name was inspired by the Modern Jazz Quartet, and NRBQ embraced MJQ's improvisational ethos. The band was nothing if not versatile. In 1984, NRBQ played the Berlin Jazz Festival, the New York Folk Festival and the Grand Ole Opry. The group's leader, Terry Adams, modeled his keyboard style after Thelonious Monk and Sun Ra. The strains of modern jazz can be heard throughout NRBQ's recordings, but it's the numbers influenced by traditional jazz and swing that are the most infectious. The two cuts here are from 1978's At Yankee Stadium (fittingly, not recorded at Yankee Stadium) and 1980's Tiddlywinks.
Adams reformed NRBQ this year, but Adrolino wasn't in the group (nor are any other NRBQ alum except Adams). However, Tom Adrolino did design the cover to the band's record, Keep This Love Goin'.