Bruce Katz Band | Connections Review
by Griff Stevens
Keyboardist Bruce Katz and his new ensemble, featuring Aaron Lieberman on guitar and vocals and Liviu Pop on drums, is calling out all blues aficionados with his new album Connections. This album showcases a collection of ten original compositions that brilliantly meld Blues, New Orleans R&B, Jam Blues, Soul-Jazz, and Blues Rock, all recorded at the legendary Capricorn Studios in Macon, Georgia. Katz can be heard navigating the Hammond B3, piano, and Hammond organ bass on eight out of the eleven tracks, while Shaun Oakley, the talented grandson of original Allman Brothers bassist Berry Oakley, provides bass on the remaining three.
Bruce Katz says, “Our new album, Connections, we are so proud of the music we wrote and recorded and excited to be able to share it! There are ten new original songs written by both Aaron and me. We recorded it at Capricorn Studios in Macon, Georgia, and recording it there was really a dream…beautiful studio atmosphere and gear and an indefinable vibe that was absolutely inspirational. We think you will hear all of the “connections”…history, musical styles, and the interplay between Aaron, Liviu, and me. This is a milestone recording in the history of the Bruce Katz Band!”
“Nighttime Stroll,” a standout track from the album, showcases Katz’s keyboard prowess on both piano and Hammond organ. Set to a blues shuffle feel, the song features Lieberman’s solid bluesy tone as he delivers a compelling vocal performance. His guitar solo is a balanced blend of tasteful, bluesy riffs that will leave listeners satisfied. Likewise, Katz’s piano solo is an exceptional study in piano, blending the rich language of blues piano with elements of stride piano techniques to create a truly unique sound. As the song reaches its cadential figure, Lieberman expands his vocal lines, riffing with style and his signature gravelly vocals.
“Where’s My Wallet” stands out as an instrumental highlight, blending elements of jazz and blues into a funky blues groove. With intriguing band hits and a compelling guitar solo by Lieberman featuring emotional bends, double stops, and chromatic approaches, the essence of jazz is skillfully incorporated. Katz’s Hammond organ solo projects blues authority and charm, while his shifting harmonic progression demonstrates his mastery of playing changes through imaginative melodies. Liviu Pop’s musical drum solo leads listeners to a captivating variation of the original theme, making “Where’s My Wallet” a sonic delight showcasing the band’s undeniable talent and ability to traverse various musical structures with finesse.
In conclusion, Connections sets a new benchmark in Bruce Katz’s career, crafting music that not only has deep roots in the blues tradition but also daringly expands into other genres. The band’s ability to meld diverse styles like Blues, New Orleans R&B, Jam Blues, Soul-Jazz, and Blues Rock is key to the success of Connections. Katz’s prowess on both piano and Hammond organ, as well as the powerful performances of Lieberman and Pop, is the other key. This album is one that fans will undoubtedly appreciate the rich “connections” between history, musical styles, and the dynamic interplay between the talented musicians.
Release Date: April 21, 2023
Label: Dancing Rooster Records
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