Bruce Katz Band – Get Your Groove!
Bruce Katz delivers a new CD for us to savor entitled Get Your Groove!, taking Katz’ blues and “soul-jazz” influences and adding Allman Brothers/Greg Allman/Butch Trucks/Jaimoe jam band influences. The band is Chris Vitarello on guitar, Ray Hangen doing most of the drum work and also with Jaimoe on tracks 2, 4 and 7, Matt Raymond on acoustic and electric bass along with Katz doing some bass on the B3 and Katz on Hammond B3 and acoustic piano. Vitarello also does the vocal work on top of his fantastic guitar playing.
The album starts with “Hesitation Blues,” a traditional blues that Katz and Vitarello make sound new in a jazzy sort of way. Katz organ is spectacular as is Vitarello’s strident guitar. “Freight Train” is a ten-minute jam band instrumental that Katz wrote for Butch Trucks Freight Train Band and features Jaimoe on the drums. The organ work has throwbacks to the great Allman Jams that Katz spices up and delivers in his own way. The guitar work is also Allman-esque with the jazz influences riffs that build and build layers of sound. Katz moves over to the piano on “Beef Jerky,” another original cut. The cut interplays jazz and blues elements and the guitar and piano intertwine for some interesting stuff. Another superb instrumental! “Shine Together (Tribe Of Lights) was written by Katz, other band members and a few others and it’s a cool little jazzy cut with guitar, organ and Jaimoe solos to drink up.
“River Blues” is up next. Katz wrote this one and it’s a pretty, slow jazzy blues instrumental. He mixes his piano and organ for us and Vitarello’s guitar also weaves in seamlessly with the acoustic bass adding support. Well done! Katz and Vitarello penned “Make Things Right” and share the spotlight on vocals, guitar and B3. It’s thoughtful and pensive, commenting on the state of things today and asking everyone to come together and do what the title says. The title track is next; a boogie woogie honky tonk piano starts things off and the guitar plays into the mix along with the backline. Katz wrote this sweet instrumental and he and the band deliver the good performing it and Jaimoe appears for the third and final time for us to enjoy. Next is “Zone 3,” another Katz tune that is a slow and sultry instrumental with guitar and organ trading off the lead nicely.
“Rush Hour” follows, another Katz instrumental with a little more pep and a little more jazzy and funky set of overtones. Modernistic and cool, we get a lot of organ and then the guitar comes in big halfway through for an intense solo. Another jam band sort of thing to savor with some cool drum work up front, too. Vitarello and Katz wrote “Wasn’t My Time,” a deep and intense slow blues. Vitarello sings of a drive by shooting missing him and letting him live on, it just wasn’t his time. Katz gets it going and Vitarello sings and then gives us another nice solo, this one quite long and very cool. Katz comes in with more B3 and we get about 8 minutes total of jam band goodness built on this slow and sweet blues. The finale to the set is Vitarello’s “The Run.” His guitar gets us going, then Katz solos on the B3 and Vitarello returns for another solo on this slick mid tempo instrumental.
The CD blends Katz’ New Orleans roots with his jam band touring and jazzy blues work of Chris Vitarello. Vitarello is a regular with Bruce and also tours with Chris O’Leary and other bands and his work here is spectacular. Katz on B3 has few, if any, equals. This is a great CD that showcases the organ, guitar and just the craftsmanship of a great group of musicians. I highly recommend it!