Showing posts with label Bruce Katz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bruce Katz. Show all posts

Saturday, September 29, 2018

#354 : The Bennett Brothers - Not Made For Hire

2018 – American Showplace Music

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 29, 2018

New York musicians, guitarist Jimmy Bennett and bassist Peter Bennett first came to my awareness as the backbone of Alexis P. Suter Band.  Their presence on blues-rock albums from Bruce Katz, John Ginty, and Marcus Randolph captured my attention even more.  This summer, the Bennett Brothers released their debut album, Not Made For Hire, a powerful blues-rock album filled with a fistful of electric guitar and lots of groove. Drummer Lee Falco and keyboardist John Ginty bring their mojo to the band as well, forming a tight-knit outfit of musicians.

A searing blast of Texas-style electric blues greets the listener in “Junkyard Dog”.  Falco holds nothing back on drums as he drives this revving fully-loaded beast with ripping guitar from Jimmy.  The B3 sounds of Ginty is sweet icing on this cake.  The Bennett Brothers give an intoxicating performance in a wonderful, riveting way in “I Just Don’t Want the Blues Today”.  This one also features the lovely vocals of Linda Pino backing them up.  She definitely adds a layer of heartfelt emotion to the song.  The rocking contagious riffs in “What’d I Do” have a fabulous way to burrowing right inside to my core, and I love every bit of it.  The album ends in a tremendous way when the needle drops on “I Got a Woman”.  The guitar/organ intro generates a wave of excitement and captivates my attention.  Within ten seconds, the groove is set with a the funky rhythm and rides the spiraling B3 organ delightfully to its cosmic end.   

Not Made For Hire is the real deal.  This is what Blues-Rock is all about.


Links to other PhillyCheeze Rock & Blues Reviews featuring the Bennett Brothers :

Marcus Randolph My Peeples Peeple - Transplant

John Ginty - No Filter

John Ginty - Bad News Travels Live CD/DVD

Bruce Katz Band - Homecoming

The Alexis P Suter Band - Love the Way You Roll

Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.

Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon store.     

Saturday, September 15, 2018

#352 : RC and the MoonPie Band - All This

2018 – HoundSounds

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 15, 2018

All This, the brand new disc from RC and the MoonPie Band brings a smile to my face with every listen.  The MoonPie Band, from Green Swamp, North Carolina is fronted by Robert “RC” Christian, and consists of guitarist Robert Marlowe, drummer T Bone Betourney, bassist Mike Logiovino, and backing vocalist Russell Pleasants.  Chock-full   of funky soulful blues, All This is a delectable slice of southern Americana served with authenticity.

Title track, “All This” gets the party started with a sweet funky rhythm carved out by Logiovino and Betourney.  Marlowe’s guitar is smoking hot as he rips it up on this one.  Keyboardist extraordinaire Bruce Katz takes the helm of a 1920 Steinway baby grand as guest pianist on “5-10-15 Hours”.  RC’s vocals are suave on this fabulous cover of Ruth Brown’s 1952 hit.  Katz brings back again for a rollicking high-energy homage to one of the best bluesmen in the biz, “The Buddy Guy Up”.    

I love the jazz-soaked cover of Oscar Brown’s “Somebody Buy Me a Drink”.  Rich Moncure’s trombone accompaniment is the icing on the cake for this track.  One can’t help but be pulled in to the intoxicating blues of “Leave Me To Be”, a captivating 9 bar blues song from Christian and Marlowe.  The driving bassline sidles up quite nicely to Greg Moyers’ polyrhythmic beats.  It’s a treat to hear “Steady Rollin” Bob Margolin step in with Telecaster guitar in hand for “Big Ass Jug O’ Wine”.  Now that’s the Blues!  

Guitarist Gary Pope aka “the Pope of Shallotte” joins RC and the MoonPie Band to wonderfully bring this gem of an album to a soulful groovy close with their spectacular cover of Calvin Arnold’s 1968 “Funky Way”.   All This is one cool-as-hell album.  It is indeed “all that”.


Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.

Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon store.     

Saturday, August 4, 2018

#345 : Bruce Katz Band - Get Your Groove!

2018 – American Showplace Music
Release Date :  July 20, 2018

By Phillip Smith; Aug. 4, 2018

I never tire of listening to the wonderful Bruce Katz performing his magic on the keys.  Whether playing with his own band or alongside greats such as Gregg Allman or Butch Trucks, Katz always brings his A-game. This album is no exception.  Get Your Groove is a treasure trove of keyboard-centric blues and jazz loaded with surprising and tasty jams.  With Chris Vitarello holding down the fort on vocals and guitar, Matt Raymond keeps the bassline going on half the tracks on bass.  Drums are supplied by Ray Hangen, with the highly-esteemed Jaimoe (Allman Brothers Band) joining him on three of them.

Hangen nicely rolls the album in with a quick cool beat to lead in “Hesitation Blues”.  The magnificent sound of B3 and a bluesy bassline is topped with Vitarello’s suave vocals and stellar guitar licks.  This track makes for a splendid opener.  “Freight Train” travels a more jazzy direction.  This cosmic instrumental, guided by the Hangen and Raymond is full of surprises and hands-down terrific. Vitarello shines brightly on guitar.

Katz blends acoustic piano with the swirling sounds of B3 on the beautiful and relaxed-paced instrumental “River Blues”.  Raymond lays down a sweet acoustic bassline which adds a deep layered tone to the song.  Another wonderful instrumental “Zone 3” is plumb buttery and saturated in blues. The performance is tight and smack dab right in the pocket.  I absolutely love it.

Rightfully named, Get Your Groove contains eleven tracks made to get your groove on.  It’s a fun one indeed.



Click below to read the PhillyCheeze review of : Bruce Katz Band - Homecoming  

Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.  

Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon store.   

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Chris O’Leary - Gonna Die Tryin’

2015 – American Showplace Music
By Phillip Smith; Jan 16, 2016

Gonna Die Tryin’, the fourth album from singer/song-writer/blues harpist extraordinaire, Chris O’Leary digs its claws in deep and pulls the listener right in.  O’Leary delivers eleven tracks of original smokin’ hot blues with the help of his band, guitarist Chris Vitarello, tenor saxophonist Andy Stahl, baritone saxophonist Chris Difrancesco, bassist Matt Raymond, and drummer Jay Devlin.

One of the things I admire about O’Leary is the fact that he seems to puts as much thought into his lyrics as he does his music.  When his music takes that slight turn to the dark side, and he just lets loose on that voice of his, I’m immediately reminded of music fave, Tom Waits.  I love Vitarello’s tangy blues riffs and Bruce Katz’s barrelhouse piano on the lead track, “Can’t Help Yourself”.  O’Leary’s badass gravelly vocals and stellar harp playing lead the way on title track “Gonna Die Tryin’”, a killer track with a hell of a lot of soul.  Vitarello’s suave and tasty guitar licks are greeted by Katz’s groovy keyboard finesse on this one.  I dig the horns and funky rhythm on “Hook Line and Sinker”.  This tune seemingly pays homage to that sweet Memphis soul music which came out of Stax Records in the Sixties. The track is very nice indeed.     

I’m pretty much knocked out by this album.  It’s surely one of my favorite releases this year.   

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Johnny I. - All Star Blues Revival

2015 – JIB Music
By Phillip Smith; Dec 19, 2015


Johnny I. is Connecticut-based singer/songwriter/guitarist John Ingrassia, and this guitar-slinging bluesman has enlisted a few very well-known and very well-respected friends in the music industry to join him in the recording of All Star Blues Revival, a terrific three track EP that packs a lot of punch.  

Mixed by non-other than the legendary producer, Jim Gaines, the laid back and cool “Late Night”, ventures into the realm of psychedelic blues with Johnny I’s groovy guitar licks and the lush B3 sounds of the great Bruce Katz.  But wait, there’s more: Jaimoe (Allman Brothers) delivers the beats and Tommy Shannon (SRV Double Trouble) the bass, making for a killer performance.  “Avery’s Tune” features Blind Melon’s Glen Graham on drums with Brad Smith mixing. Ingrassia plays his heart out and Graham wails on the drums. This tune truly jams. A fun and funky rhythm drives “Life is Better (2nd Time Around).  On this one, Ingrassia enlists Billy Cox (Jimi Hendrix Experience), drummer Chris Layton (SRV Double Trouble) and Reese Wynans(SRV Double Trouble) for this true all-star jam, also mixed by Gaines.   

All Star Blues Revival is a huge winner in my book.  Three songs are just not enough though. I want more.      

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Bruce Katz Band - Homecoming

2014 – American Showplace Music
By Phillip Smith; Nov 1, 2014

Just give the Bruce Katz Band’s Homecoming a listen and you will find out rather quickly why he has been nominated three times for the "Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year” Blues Music Award.  Legendary keyboardist Katz, is backed by guitarist/vocalist Chris Vitarello and drummer Ralph Rosen.  Special guests on this album include John Hammond, Jimmy Bennett, Marty Ballou, Peter Bennett and Randy Ciarlante. Homecoming is symbolic of Katz’s return to work on his own music, after several years of backing the likes of Gregg Allman and Delbert McClinton.  The music selected for this thirteen track album, is steeped heavily in Blues and Jazz, then delivered via feel-good jams.

Katz brings a new life to Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Santa Fe Blues” as a piano performance piece with a slightly quicker tempo than the original.  With Blues Hall of Famer John Hammond at the helm on vocals, this song has an amazingly authentic bluesy sound.  From the acclaimed Alexis P Suter Band, guitarist Jimmy Bennett and bassist Peter Bennett drop by to jam on Elmore James’ “Wild About You Baby”.  J. Bennett not only rips it up on guitar, but takes the vocal lead on this great cover as well.  

Joining Katz and gang again, J. Bennett sings and plays guitar on one of his own originals “It’s a Bad Time”.  It’s so fun to listen him and Katz playfully dance their instrumentation around in this Coltrane-influenced jam. I love the abundance of jazzy instrumentals Katz scatters about the album, such as “No Brainer”, “The Czar”, and my favorite “Amelia”, which has a vibe that reminds me of Page McConnell from Phish

It’s so cool how an album such as Homecoming can exude such positive energy and maintain that output from start to finish.  Honestly, I could listen to this album all day long and not get tired of it at all.