Bruce Katz Band
Out From The Center
American Showplace Music
Bruce Katz is one of those brilliant but unsung musicians who has been on the music scene forever, having recorded and/or performed with an impressive array of artists including Ronnie Earl, John Hammond, Delbert McClinton, Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman, Jaimoe, Little Milton and Debbie Davies, just to rattle off a few. Most recently, Katz can be found performing with former original Allman Brothers Band drummer, Butch Trucks, and his thrilling new projects, The Freight Train Band and Les Brers. Glancing quickly over the aforementioned list, it becomes crystal clear that Katz has cemented a place of respect among his industry peers.
On this latest release, Out From The Center, with his current trio that includes guitarist/vocalist/writer Chris Vitarello (who is also now a member of The Freight Train Band), drummer/vocalist/writer Ralph Rosen and Hammond B3 player/pianist/writer Katz himself, the three have delivered something quite spectacular. Co-produced by Katz and Ben Elliott, the 11-track collection (seven of which are instrumentals) offers a little something for everyone ranging from boogie-woogie to “soul-jazz” and funk to slow-burning blues. Several cuts feature Peter Bennett on electric bass and Jimmy Bennett contributes lap steel on two songs.
Opening with Vitarello singing a peppy boogie-woogie number, “Don’t Feel So Good Today” pulls you right in as your feet start tapping and your body starts moving. Katz holds nothing back, always a master at his craft, and wows with his unreal keys finesse throughout the entire album, which flows seamlessly among the various genres. “The Struggle Inside,” the most decidedly blues piece that truly showcases Vitarello’s guitar prowess and formidable vocals, has an Allman Brothers-esque feel to the opening while the dreamy “Out From The Center (Hippie Tune)” highlights a jam-band influence. Katz has outdone himself with the varied instrumental styles: “Blues From High Point Mountain,” with its soul-jazz bluesy feel and “Dis-Funkshunal” with its funky flavor, as well as the jazzy, boogie-woogie “Bessie’s Bounce” and the ultra-jazz number, “You Got It.”
Some records offer a potpourri of genres that don’t exactly mix, but this is not one of those. The eclectic blend of sounds and styles all mesh and flow to create pieces of music that smoothly transition into one another. Katz and his band have put forth a refreshing, feel-good collection, one of which they should be very proud.