Blues is a music of simple structure, but it is not simple music. While it may be relatively easy for many musicians to "jam" together, it is another thing for them play well enough to be tight, fresh and interesting. That's the dilemma with the blues. The genre requires that you play it a certain way to be considered appropriate, but how does the musician succeed while making it "different?" There's no set formula, but you know it when you hear it. You hear "it" on Rod Piazza and The Mighty Flyers' latest release, "Here and Now."
Rod Piazza's secret to success is a simple one... surround yourself with great musicians and let them play. Add to that an excellent live show and you've got a good thing going. The Mighty Flyers' line-up is impressive. In addition to Piazza's sizzling harp and smooth vocals, Honey Piazza plays some of the hottest boogie woogie piano around, Rick "L.A. Holmes" Holmstrom (guitar) plays very tasty solos and adds just the right rhythm phrasing to compliment Rod's harp, and the rhythm section of Steve Mugalian (drums) and Bill Stuve (acoustic bass) is as tight as you're going to get.
"Here and Now" captures all the elements you look for in a good blues album... high highs and low lows. The opening song "Brought Together by the Blues" is a fun romp with great guitar work from Rick Holmstrom. Add to that "First Love" where Honey Piazza takes the listener on a wild 88 key ride. My other favorites are a slow blues ballad "Goodbye My Lover," a swingy "Every Shut Eye Ain't Sleep," and the down and out blues number "I Do Believe."
"Here and Now" is a solid album made by some of the finest blues musicians playing today. Whether you're a big Piazza fan or not, there's a little something for everyone to enjoy in this CD. So crank it up, head out to the backyard for some cold suds and barbecue, and kick back and enjoy.
Note: Rod Piazza and The Might Flyers are scheduled to appear at Famous Dave's in Calhoun Square (Minneapolis) on May 22, 1999.
This review is copyright © 1999 by David Sanny, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.