Bruce Katz Band “Get Your Groove!”
Bruce Katz - Hammond B-3, piano, organ bass.
Chris Vitarello - guitars and vocals.
Ray Hangen - drums.
Jaimoe - drums, tracks 2, 4, 7.
Matt Raymond - acoustic bass, 3, 5, 7; electric bass, tracks 2, 4, 10.
By: Tom Pragliola
The latest recording by keyboard virtuoso Bruce Katz covers a wide range of styles. Sometimes, much of what we hear is based on expectations, so expect some surprises and listen with an open mind. You will be rewarded.
The CD starts off with a traditional song traced back to 1915, Hesitation Blues, with Bruce on B-3 exhibiting his deeply rooted experience and expertise with the blues.
Then the band jumps right in with a contemporary blues rock extravaganza titled Freight Train . Bruce wrote this song to honor Butch Trucks, the legendary Allman Brothers Band drummer who Bruce worked with for many years. Jaimoe, Butch’s drumming partner for over 45 years, joins drummer Ray Hangen on this song, which evokes the Allman Brothers sound. It’s an excursion through various styles, a Liz Reed quote, and evokes the heyday of many 60’s bands.
The third song, Beef Jerky, another Bruce composition, is a soul jazz tune mixing various styles together in a showcase of Bruce’s piano playing.
Shine Together , a group composition, has Bruce back on B-3 and has a New Orleans feel, with Chris Vitarello on vocals and Jaimoe once again joining with drummer Ray with some subtle, seamless double drumming.
River Blues is a slow 12/8 blues with Bruce on both piano and B-3 and is reminiscent of his playing with Ronnie Earl. Yessir!
With a rock blues intro, Make Things Right, co-written by Chris and Bruce, dares to make commentary on current events. “...try to come up with a better plan to make things right…” Chris on vocals and Bruce on B-3 make their case.
The title track, Get Your Groove, has Bruce on piano with an old-time feel with contemporary twists. It sounds like a tune Allen Toussaint might have written. Jaimoe sneaks in there again, and you have to pay close attention to be aware of the seasoning ingredients he’s adding.
Zone 3 is a slow shuffle with Bruce doing more of his stellar B-3 work with the the organ bass keys laying down a deep feel. Maybe Zone 3 refers to his Hammond B-3?
A drum intro kicks off Rush Hour. It’s another B-3 extravaganza. A mixture of old and new that is Bruce’s specialty. A nice drum solo by Ray Hangen.
Chris Vitarello’s vocals tell a survival story on Wasn’t My Time, a slow blues steeped in B-3 and guitar musings. It sounds like Chris was doing his homework on the Ronnie Earl collaborations, and it closes with a strong B-3 solo.
The final track, The Bun, is an instrumental by Chris, a blues shuffle highlighting the joy these guys have playing together.
Chris has been playing with Bruce Katz for a number of years, and this is Ray Hangen’s 2nd year and first recording with the band. Touring extensively has contributed to the cohesiveness and feel these musicians have playing together. The result is a highly Recommended CD!