Bruce Katz Band – Out From The Center


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Out From the Center , the new CD from legendary keyboardist and four time Blues Music Award Nominee Bruce Katz also features the exciting and brilliant guitarist and vocalist Chris Vitarello. Chris has been performing with the Bruce Katz Band for ten years, but really steps into the limelight on this album, singing and writing tunes, along with Katz. In fact, this album is a true complete band effort, with longtime drummer Ralph Rosen also contributing tunes to the CD, alongside the bandleader, Bruce Katz.
Out From the Center is both eclectic and accessible, incorporating emotional blues rooted music as well as traveling the wide world of blues , as Katz calls it. This means the band touches down on jam tunes, traditional piano blues and Boogie Woogie and Hammond B3 powered soul jazz as well.
The album consists of eleven original tunes, and continues the band's tradition of combining virtuosic playing, raw emotion and a truly original sound, one that is coming from the soul of the Blues tradition while simultaneously growing that tradition. This is exciting, vital music from a band in its creative prime.

Track Listing:
1. Don't Feel So Good Today - 3:33   2. Schnapps Man - 5:33   3. The Struggle Inside - 7:35   4. Blues From High Point Maountain - 6:29   5. Out From the Center - 8:29   6. All Torn Up - 5:21   7. Bessie's Bounce - 4:26   8. Dis-Funkshunal - 5:00   9. Another Show - 5:12   10. Think Fast - 4:00   11. You Got It - 4:33

Bruce Katz (piano, Hammond B3, harmonic bass) , Chris Vitarello (guitar, vocals) , Peter Bennett (bass) , Ralph Rosen (drums, backing vocals) , Jimmy Bennett (guitar, lap steel guitar)


Considering the stellar cast of musicians Bruce Katz has played with in his career – Delbert McClinton, Duke Robillard, David “Fathead” Newman and John Hammond for starters – and considering he was a professor at Boston’s famed Berklee College of Music, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Bruce Katz can play the keys. But man, how he plays. He is a true master of both piano and organ.
On this CD, he is joined by his usual band mates, Chris Vitarello on guitar and vocals, and Ralph Rosen on drums, along with superb back-up from Peter Bennett on bass for five of the tracks (Katz plays Hammond B3 bass on the other six tracks) and Jimmy Bennett on lap steel guitar for a couple of tracks.
So, now that we’ve established Katz’s and the band’s chops, let dive into this terrific CD. On this album, they boogie, they jump, they swing, they shuffle and they conquer.
The CD takes off quickly with “Don’t Feel So Good Today”, written by Katz and drummer Ralph Rosen. This is a full-tilt boogie that Katz just rocks on the piano. When you listen to this song, you’ll start feeling better very quickly.
The next song, “Schnapps Man”, written entirely by Rosen, shifts gears into a jazz/rock organ-fueled instrumental that demonstrates just how talented this band is. This is a remarkably varied CD with all the band members bringing a lot of different influences and sensibilities to the work. This song incorporates a few of them – jazz, soul, and a touch of funk.
“The Struggle Within”, writte by Chris Vitarello, is a heart-wrenching slow blues with beautiful guitar accents and riffs supported by Katz’s B3. It also illustrates that true blues resides in forms beyond 12-bar .
In keeping with the various styles this band is capable of, “Blues From High Point Mountain” is comprised of many influences. There is some sweet jazz chording on both guitar and piano, but there are also hints of country, or perhaps more accurately, Ray Charles’s version of country, in some of Katz’s licks.
“Out From The Center”, the title track, is very, very far away from blues. It is very reminiscent of John McLaughlin from around 1971. For a moment, I was carried back to a smoked-filled basement, my head on my girlfriend’s lap as she bent over to kiss me, her long, straight hair tickling my nose. Dreamy, ethereal and a leap back in time.
The rest of the album continues morphing across genres.

Some highlights:
“All Torn Up” – great mid-tempo shuffle. This is a lesson on how to play blues organ.
“Bessie’s Bounce” – goes to show that blues includes a very many different styles. This is a honky-tonk, blues stride piano tune that shows off Bruce Katz’s astounding versatility.
“Another Show” – another mid-tempo, piano driven tune with excellent vocals from Chris Vitarello. Actually, his vocals throughout this CD are superb. They match the arrangements perfectly.
“Think Fast” – Vitarello leads off with some brilliant guitar licks. He and Katz then continue to pass off leads to one another for four minutes of driving, 88 octane mayhem.
Not every song on this CD is a masterpiece, but they demonstrate the depth of songwriting in the band. Katz, Vitarello and Rosen all contribute solo and collaborative songs encapsulating many styles and nuances. What makes this a truly outstanding CD is the virtuosity of every musician. In addition, the production is outstanding, and the mix, flawless. This is a must-have CD.

2. - Eric Schuurmans
Bruce Katz (°1952) speelt al vanaf zijn vijfde piano. In het begin van zijn muzikale carrière, speelt hij in Baltimore, in verschillende bands piano en bas. Hij is zich later gaan concentreren op piano en Hammond orgel en vooral op blues en jazz muziek. Na zijn studies aan het Berklee College of Music, speelt hij vooral jazz in Boston. Door omstandigheden kan Katz als bassist spelen in de band van Big Mama Thornton. Dit doet hem definitief kiezen voor de blues. Hierna speelt hij met Barrence Whitfield & the Savages, met wie hij in Europa en de States tourt.
Katz blijft piano en orgel spelen en schrijft ook nummers voor o.a. Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters. Hij is daarom als gast of sessie muzikant te horen op albums van meerdere collega artiesten. Daarnaast is Katz ook bezig met zijn eigen band, met wij hij tourt en opneemt voor het Sledgehammer Blues (ex-AudioQuest Music) label.
In 1997 verlaat hij de Broadcasters van Ronnie Earl, om zich meer te concentreren op zijn Bruce Katz Band. Met hen tourt hij en brengt hij zeven albums uit. Tussendoor werkt hij ook nog samen met o.a. Delbert McClinton, Duke Robillard, Joe Louis Walker, Debbie Davies, David "Fathead" Newman en John Hammond.
Tussen 2007 en 2013 maakt Katz regelmatig deel uit van de Gregg Allman & Friends, In 2011 speelt hij met de Delbert McClinton’s Band, het John Hammond Quartet en de Jaimoe's Jasssz Band. Vanaf 2014 tourt Katz vooral met zijn eigen band. In 2014 brengt Katz het album "Homecoming" uit, met als gasten John Hammond, Randy Ciarlante, Jimmy Bennett, Marty Ballou en Peter Bennett.
“Out From The Center” is Bruce Katz achtste album. Katz werkte op het album samen met gitarist Chris Vitarello, die al tien jaar met Katz samenwerkt. Voor het album schreef Vitarello enkele nummers samen met Katz. Verder bestaat de ritme sectie uit drummer Ralph Rosen en bassist Peer Bennett. Jimmy Bennett is in enkele nummers te horen op lap steel guitar en gitaar.
Katz opent met ”Don’t Feel So Good Today”, een piano boogie woogie pur sang, die de sfeer er direct in brengt. ”Schanpps Man” is daarna de eerste instrumental en meteen ook de eerste jazzy jam. Met ”The Struggle Inside” kiest Katz voor een slow blues, waarin Jemmy Bennett te horen is op lap steel gitaar en waarin het Hammond orgel duidelijk de baas is. ”Blues From High Point Mountain” en ”Out From The Center” (Hippie Tune) zijn nog meer rustige instrumentale jam tunes en ”All Turn Up” een blues shuffle, die voor wat afwisseling zorgt. Met ”Bessie’s Bounce” verhuizen we naar een kroeg in New Orléans en neemt Peter Bennett de bas partij van Katz nog eens over op gitaar. ”Dis-Funkshunal” is zoals de naam het laat vermoeden funky, ”Another Show” heel bluesy met drummer Rosen die de backings zingt, ”Think Fast” rockt en ”You Got It”, de afsluiter ten slotte, het laatste Hammond gedreven soul-jazz spinsel.
“Out From The Center” is een blues georiënteerd album, met jazzy jam tunes, traditionele piano blues en boogie woogie en, Hammond B3 gedreven “soul-jazz”. Voor zij die veteraan Bruce Katz, de toetsenman die met al zo velen heeft samen gespeelt, nog niet kennen is “Out From The Center” opnieuw een uitzonderlijke kans.
“ Keyboardist Bruce Katz is even better than he was!... “