Get Your Groove!
American Showplace Music
As a child Bruce Katz studied classical piano. He later studied jazz piano and Hammond organ at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. His first professional gig was playing bass guitar for Big Mama Thornton. He also played with Barrence Whitfield and The Savages, and Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, before forming his own band in 1997.
While still maintaining his own touring schedule Katz was a member of several other bands. From 2007 to 2013 he was a regular member of Gregg Allman and Friends. Katz played with Delbert McClinton from 2011 to 2014. He was also a member of Butch Trucks and The Frieght Train Band, and Les Brers. Katz appears on over seventy albums including five from the late Mighty Sam McClain.
In 2014 Katz signed with American Showplace Music and released his “Homecoming” album. As a direct result Katz was nominated for a 2015 Blues Music Award as Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of The Year; his fourth nomination in that category. Katz’ last recording was 2016’s “Out from the Center” and it reached #1 on the Roots Music Report Blues Radio Chart.
This is Katz’s ninth studio recording and third for American Showplace. The band currently includes Katz, acoustic piano and Hammond B3; Chris Vitarello who has also played with Tad Robinson and Chris O’Leary, guitar and vocals; Ray Hangen, drums; and special guests drummer Jaimoe (Allman Brothers, and Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band); and bassist Matt Raymond.
Katz opens with “Hesitation Blues” a traditional tune first recorded in 1916. Katz’ organ playing, on this often recorded classic, is beautiful. Vitarello’s guitar and infectious vocal are equally fine. Vitarello who solos nicely throughout the recording sings again on “Shine Together” and on two co-written songs “Wasn’t My Time” and “Make Things Right”; the later with the lyric “there is so much wrong in the world today”.
The remaining seven tracks are soul jazz instrumentals or improvisational jam blues; the kind of music played with the Allman Brothers “family bands”. “Freight Train” written by Katz, while he was with Trucks and The Freight Train Band, clocks in at ten minutes. On “Zone 3” Katz sounds like organist Jimmy Smith. The title track features Katz on piano while Jaimoe sits in on drums. Numerous time changes and progressions ensure there is never a dull moment.
Katz is among the best keyboard players working today. Gregg Allman said “he can play jazz, blues, Bach, anything. Man, he’s a heavy!” While John Hammond says it best “this man is as good as it gets. One of the greatest keyboard artists I’ve ever heard.”
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