Monday, September 15, 2008

Live at the Firefly reviewed by Mark Thompson

Live at the Firefly
The Bruce Katz Band
Vizztone Records
12 tracks/65:57

Recorded at the end of a tour, Katz and crew are captured in full flight on an all-instrumental program. Bruce is a master of the keyboard, possessing prodigious talent on the piano and organ. His band includes Chris Vitarello on guitar, Rod Carey on bass and Ralph Rosen on drums. They turn in a road-tested performance that ranges from the funky opener, “Deep Pockets”, to a straight-ahead version of the classic Charles Mingus composition “Better Get It In Your Soul.”

On “The Blue Lamp” Katz follows an incendiary solo from Vitarello with one of his one, pounding out a mesmerizing solo on his piano. He attacks the keyboard on “Norton’s Boogie,” handling the rapid pace with ease. He coaxes dazzling runs and fat chords from the organ on “Ice Cream Man” and proves that he is equally proficient on that instrument at the faster tempos on the burnin’ take of “Jump Start”.

Vitarello shares the spotlight with Katz and matches his virtuosity at every turn. He can squeeze a note for all it’s worth or pick out lines that dazzle you with their complexity. The rhythm section stays in the pocket through every twist and turn.

Full of creative improvisations, this recording delight listeners searching for a more challenging experience than the standard blues licks provide.

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