Friday, August 26, 2011

Rod Piazza Kept It Real

Another older review of a Rod Piazza album that dates from 2004. Piazza has such a strong catalog that you should be aware of.

Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers have a new disc on Blind Pig, Keepin' It Real. Its the first disc to feature guitarist Henry Carvajal and drummer Paul Vincent Fasulo. Long-time bassist Bill Stuve remains along with Piazza and his wife, pianist Honey Piazza.

The album attempts to recreate the feel of their live performances with Piazza even introducing the band on the opening track, Big Blues Party. As might be expected, the group is tight and swings with the rhythm section being real fine. Drummer Fasulo is a fine replacement for Jimi Bott while guitarist Carvajal is another fine guitarist to play with Piazza, and takes a credible vocal on Ain't Nothing Happening.

There is a nice mix of material with the reworking of Baby Please Don't Go strongly evoking Muddy waters' classic recording. While I find Piazza an inconsistent singer, he is strong on the rocking Baby Please Don't Go, patterned after Muddy Waters' classic recording. Of course he is a brilliant harp player as the evocative West Coast Midnight Blues displays as does his consistently swinging, and inventive, playing that also displays his marvelous full-tone. Piazza is a master of the Mississippi Saxophone indeed.

Like his live performances, this set contains a boogie feature for Honey Piazza, Buzzin', which unfortunately goes on too long as doesthe closing Devil's Foot. One problem with an album like this, the attempt to recreate a live performance leads to the failure to edit one's performances which mar what is otherwise an enjoyable album.

Unfortunately, Piazza has a back catalog that this competes with and for those new to him, I would recommend the exceptional two-cd survey of his career that appeared on Tone-Cool a couple years ago.

This review was written in 2004 and likely appeared in the DC Blues Calendar, then the DC Blues Society’s newsletter which I edited at the time. I received my review copy from the record label.

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