Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers Big Blues Party Blind Pig Records 2005
The blues of Rod and Honey Piazza is universal. Sure, we call it Chicago blues, but their magic formula has spread all over the world. He sings and plays a mean harp, while Honey drives hard with a boogie-woogie piano attack that brings on a party all night long.
Piazza's band includes a strong drum set foundation from Paul Vincent Fasulo that supports well with a stirring back beat that just won't quit. The upright, acoustic bass of Bill Stuve walks with the kind of stoic rhythmic pattern that has nurtured the blues for several lifetimes. But it's the exciting electric guitar of Henry Carvajal that raises the roof beams and never looks back. He's exciting. And it sneaks up on you.
After all, it's the band's leader and his wife who provide the core of their band's essence. He sings 'em with plenty of passion and backs up everything that he says with one of the most soulful harps in the business. Honey adds power-packed piano support that keeps the band rolling. Her solos knock your socks off. But the biggest surprise comes when guitarist Carvajal steps forward and takes his licks. What an expressive guy. He grabs the full attention of everyone in the room. And from such a humble guy.
The Mighty Flyers' performance at the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Northern California combines hot romps with gentle blues ballads. Rod Piazza gives his audience the full throttle. Miss Honey adds a superb boogie-woogie on "The Stinger as a piano and drum duet that pours smoke and fire. Their songs, featuring Rod's vocals and harmonica, tell convincing stories that put you there in the driver's seat. We've all experienced the events that he describes, and his recommended video performance captures it all in living color.
Tracks: Sinister Woman; Hear Me Knockin'; Goodbye My Lover; The Stinger; Murder in the First Degree; Tough and Tender; Moving in a West Coast Way; Southern Lady.
Personnel: Rod Piazza: harmonica, lead vocals; Honey Piazza: piano, background vocals; Henry Carvajal: guitar, background vocals; Bill Stuve: bass, background vocals; Paul Vincent Fasulo: drums.
Program Notes: Directed by Hank Lena; Approximate running time 80 minutes. Special features include: extensive interview with Rod & Honey Piazza.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.