Six years ago, Yahoo asked me to write an article naming my favorite Atlanta blues band. I chose The Cazanovas. Today, I would still say The Cazanovas. And Saturday night at Darwin’s, they proved once again what a truly great band they are.
First of all, Danny Vinson is a fantastic guitar player, as good as any I have ever heard. Maurice Nazarro is a powerful vocalist and a tremendous harmonica player. They have a great drummer in Pete Maier, and recently they have added the most entertaining bass player in Atlanta, Jacob (Jake) Holliday, a perpetual motion machine who also happens to be a talented musician. With Jake on the stage with Maurice, who also loves to move, there is always a lot to keep your eyes along with your ears engaged. Vinson pours all of his energy into the guitar and Maier channels his into the drums, which is good because otherwise there would not be room for all four on the stage.
The band played a lot of original songs from their Just Gettin’ By album, including the title song and the slightly slower “Who’s Foolin’ Who,” and more songs from ta soon to be released album. They were joined onstage by Atlanta legend Jeff Baker.” Two harmonica players is blues heaven if you ask this reviewer, and Baker also did a couple of vocals that proved he could also hold his own in that area, too.
Probably the highlight of the set we saw, however, was a cover of a Slim Harpo number, “Hip Shake.” I have seen the group perform this song many times, and it is always an exuberant blues rave with Nazarro getting into it, illustrating the hip shake with enthusiasm,, and soon the small dance floor was packed with happy, wiggling bodies.
The Cazanovas are mostly uptempo, although they can and do handle a slower number. They have a lot of fun with the music, even when one or the other is having technical trouble, as Vinson was Saturday night. They prove that the blues can be as much fun as any musical genre, while still staying true to the traditional chords and structure. They are true musicians and seasoned entertainers who always give their audience an enjoyable experience.
If you are in the Atlanta area,, you can see The Cazanovas every Wednesday hosting the jam at Darwin’s Blues Club, but to get to see them handle a whole show by themselves is a real treat and you should never miss the opportunity to see them if you can. You may be smiling for days.