363

Joel Frahm / Bruce Katz: Project A

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Joel Frahm / Bruce Katz: Project A Joel Frahm and Bruce Katz's Project A is not a codename for a scientific research program or some covert operation, but, instead, a finger-snapping, toe-tapping tribute to the original Queen of Soul, singer Aretha Franklin.

Frahm, a superlative saxophonist who has worked with Maynard Ferguson, Brad Mehldau and Kurt Rosenwinkel, is joined by Bruce Katz, a master Hammond B3 player and pianist, who is well known in R&B, blues and rock circles, having performed with Gregg Allman and Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters.

Joined with two drummers and two bassists who are divided between nine spirited songs, the musicians pay homage to Franklin whose songs such as Stephen Stills' 1970's hit, "Love The One You're With," are cultural gems in American roots music. While tunes such as "Respect" are missing from this set, the music vividly gives insight into Franklin's upbringing, which has roots in gospel music, in her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee and the influence of Detroit, Michigan, even though she never recorded for Motown.

Frahm's horn exudes a Maceo Parker tonality on the stomping "Don't Play That Song," with guitarist Chris Vitarello bringing some B.B. King flavor and Katz serves up some impressive juke joint stride piano. The band goes straight to church in "Spirit In The Dark," Franklin's compelling spiritual testimony, as Katz switches to B3 and lays plenty of grits and grease, while Frahm's answers with skonks and rapid-fire tenor.

"It Ain't Fair" is down-in-the-dirt blues with a rhythm section funeral march, lamenting horn vamps, wailing guitar, and a preaching B3. It is music that hurts so good. The band has some tricks up its sleeve with "What A Friend We Have in Jesus," a tune that contains New Orleans spiciness and Vitarello's Ry Cooder-like slide guitar blues. But the groove is fully realized on Franklin's 1971 hit "Rock Steady," from Atlantic Records' Young Gifted and Black, with funky bass line and Katz's frosty Wurlitzer.

Project A does the Queen of Soul justice. Enjoyable, recession-proof music with a whole lot of soul. The only thing better would be to have Aretha Franklin singing with this very hot band.

Visit Joel Frahm and Bruce Katz on the web.


Track Listing: The House That Jack Built; Love The One You're With; Don't Play That Song; Spirit In The Dark; It Ain't Fair; Maybe I'm A Fool; What A Friend We Have In Jesus; Rock Steady; Packing Up, Getting Ready To Go.

Personnel: Joel Frahm: tenor saxophone; Bruce Katz: piano, B3 organ, Wurlitzer; Chris Vitarello: guitar; Marty Ballou: acoustic bass (2-6, 8, 9); Jerry Jemmott: bass (1, 3, 4, 7, 8); Lorne Entress: drums (1, 3-5, 7-9); Ralph Rosen: drums (2, 4, 6-9); Jay Collins: baritone saxophone (5, 7, 9); Kenny Rampton: trumpet (5, 7, 9).

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Anzic Records | Style: R&B/Soul


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Intenso!" CD/LP/Track Review Intenso!
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 7, 2016
Read "Natural Language" CD/LP/Track Review Natural Language
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 2, 2016
Read "Detour" CD/LP/Track Review Detour
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 26, 2016
Read "Old Locks And Irregular Verbs" CD/LP/Track Review Old Locks And Irregular Verbs
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 18, 2016
Read "Porcupine Meat" CD/LP/Track Review Porcupine Meat
by James Nadal
Published: September 29, 2016
Read "The Inner Spectrum of Variables" CD/LP/Track Review The Inner Spectrum of Variables
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 25, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!