A Deeper Blue finds keyboardist Bruce Katz delving deep into various early blues styles with longtime cohorts bassist Rod Carey (Hubert Sumlin, Kenny Neal), Ralph Rosen on drums, Mike Williams on guitar, and the inimitable Ronnie Earl.
“Featuring Katz on both the Hammond B-3 organ and piano, the results sound something like a progressive, post-bop jazz group heavily into early-period Ray Charles. Although Katz is the featured player here, the album plays more like a group effort with guitarists Earl and Williams coming front and center much of the time. To these ends, “(Why Don’t You Just) Go Home!” is a quick and funky Medeski, Martin & Wood-style burner, “Greasy Sticks” is a suitably greasified shuffle, and “Slinky” is a menacing and atmospheric mid-tempo modern blues. Longtime Katz fans and listeners searching for some rootsy and intelligent improvisational music should find much to enjoy here.” — Matt Collar
This CD is a musical and personal continuation, as well as a reunion of sorts. The album is named “A Deeper Blue” because while all of my CDs have revolved around the Blues, this one above all, connects with that primal feeling blues music is all about. For this I thank the inspired and soulful playing of my musical partners, the talented group of friends that you hear on this disc.
Two of the musicians I reunited with on this CD are new to the band. Mike Williams, the brilliant guitarist you hear on this album and I have collaborated on and off for about 15 years, in all sorts of situations, from his debut album Late Night Walk, (Blue Tempo Records) to many gigs on all sides of blues and jazz. And, of course, I’ve heard him play with the great James Cotton and label mate Darrell Nulisch in addition to Michelle Willson and so many others over the years. His playing has such a direct and passionate presence. Just listen as every solo, emotionally and musically tells a story that will just knock you out.
The other new musician on this album is bassist Rod Carey. I played with Rod for five years with Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters in the mid-1990’s. Since then he and I have played with the likes of Hubert Sumlin, Kenny Neal and countless others. The bass groove he lays down on these tracks is deeper than anything I’ve heard. You really hear magic in how he transforms the music when he plays. He simply makes everyone around him sound better!
After seven years I get to reunite with my friend, musical collaborator, and old bandleader Ronnie Earl. Ronnie joins us on “Yeah, Maybe,” written by Rod, in addition to Earl Hooker’s “Blues In D Natural” with stunning results. From the first note he strikes, you know that it’s the one and only Ronnie Earl!
And finally, I’m steadied by my constant friend of 25 years, Ralph Rosen. He understands my music and has contributed so much to my efforts over the years with his masterfully thoughtful and soulful approach to playing the drums. — Bruce Katz
The Bruce Katz Band would like to thank the following people: Vikki, Liz, Ruth Grossman, Keegan, Andrea, Jason, Anna, Calvin, George and Clare Rosen, Terry Winters, David Earl, Huck Bennert, Jeff Simpson, Ron Polk, Dave Vumback, Alex Rabb, Marty Katz, Steve Langbein, Natalie and Jim Berry, Harry Turner, Ronnie Earl, Iain McIntosh,
Kate and Dave, Steve and Sheila, all the “Fools” from the English Delta, Eric Jackson, Peter Vroon and Henry Van Raemdonck.
Bruce Katz: Hammond B-3 Organ, Piano
Michael Williams: Guitar
Rod Carey: Electric Bass
Ralph Rosen: Drums
Ronnie Earl: Guitar on “Yeah, Maybe” and “Blues in D Natural” (courtesy of Stony Plain Records)
Produced by Bruce Katz
Executive Producer: David Earl
Engineered by Huck Bennert
Recorded at Wellspring Sound, Acton, MA (Dec. 15, 16, 17, 2003)
Mixed by Huck Bennert at Soundmirror Studio, Jamaica Plain, MA
Mastered by Charlie Pilzer at Airshow Mastering, Springfield, VA
Cover photography by Peter Vroon
Other photography by Hean Hangarter
Design by Al Brandtner, Brandtner Design, Chicago, IL
Bruce Katz plays a portable Hammond B-3 created by Tom Coates, and customized and maintained by Jeff Simpson of Simpson Technical Services. Bruce also plays a Goff Professional Leslie 145 Tone Cabinet.