Blues Bytes


February 2020

Bruce Katz
Solo Ride

American Showplace Music

Bruce Katz

Bruce Katz won the 2019 BMA for Best Acoustic Album for his contributions to Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues with Joe Louis Walker and Giles Robson. The talented keyboardist recently released Solo Ride (American Showplace Music), a stunning set of 12 solo acoustic piano instrumentals that range from blues to jazz to classical, gospel, and country.

The opener, “Down At The Barrelhouse,” is a lively Windy City boogie, while “Crescent Crawl” ventures into New Orleans, paying tribute to Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, and Huey “Piano” Smith (mixing in a snippet of “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu”). “It Hurts Me Too,” the old Tampa Red classic, gets a wonderful interpretation. The stirring “Praise House” mixes gospel atmosphere with jazz influences, and the upbeat “Red Sneakers” has a ragtime feel. “Dreams Of Yesterday” is an achingly beautiful country waltz.

“Midnight Plans” skillfully mixes soul, blues and jazz, the mellow “Easy Living” has a relaxing vibe, and “Going Places” rolls like a house afire. “The Way To Your Heart” is an after-hours blues/jazz ballad that flows gracefully, while the playful “Watermelon Stomp” is a delightful shuffle. The adventurous closer, “Redemption,” revisits the gospel/jazz structure most effectively.

If you’ve listened to the blues over the past few decades, you’ve more than likely heard Bruce Katz playing keyboards in support of other artists. Though Solo Ride is his tenth release, it’s actually the first where the spotlight is completely focused on him. Let’s hope that it won’t be the last.

--- Graham Clarke


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