Living Blues Living Blues #235 : Page 51

new releases Standouts like the happily lazy, shuf-fling instrumental No Brainer feature Katz’s B-3 spinning circles around a melody while the guitar follows suit, opening up every now and again for a foot-dragging solo that complements the song’s sense of impish-ness. King of Decatur , with lead vocals by Randy Ciarlante, is a delicate in-the-pocket funk tune, with Katz finding himself more the engine than the shiny hood ornament—his playing driving each song without any trace of self-indulgence. Even on the most impressive of instrumental breakdowns like the Whipping Post –like vibe of Won’t Last Til Tuesday , with time signatures being decimated at will, Katz is mindful of each phrase and chooses each poke of the keys through an artist’s eye—or rather, ear. An exercise in world-class roots musi-cianship that doesn’t overtly feel like it’s being played by some of the best in the business, Homecoming is an album that’s filled with nothing short of breathtaking blues highs—rel-ishing in Katz’s role as the rather pliable stone upon which each song is built. —Mark Uricheck RAPHAEL WRESSNIG Soul Gumbo Pepper Cake -PEC 2094-2 For his latest release, Raphael Wressnig set his sights on the Big Easy. In January 2014, the Austrian organ player gathered some of New Orleans’ finest musicians together at the Music Shed Studios, and after only two days of recording, they had the makings of Soul Gumbo . (The album is available in CD, digital and vinyl formats, each with a different tracklist; this review is of the CD version.) The covers and originals all have Crescent City connections or influences. The rousing Chasing Rainbows and melancholy Room With a View were both recorded by Johnny Adams; Tad Robinson wraps his warm, weathered voice around these faithful versions. Wressnig’s B-3 and Alex Schultz’s guitar bring to mind the early work of The Meters on the funky, horn-driven instrumental Soulful Strut . Their impact isn’t just felt on this recording—Meters bassist George Porter Jr. appears on the very next track, laying of guests rounds out the effort to further expand an already rich tapestry of musical statements. Names like John Hammond and Marty Ballou immediately surface, providing guitar and bass, respectively, to the crooned-out drawl of Leroy Carr’s standard Blues Before Sunrise and the blissfully optimistic vamp of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ Santa Fe Blues — both tracks featuring Katz’s sparse, yet tingling piano. Produced by Katz and Ben Elliott, the sound here is clean, rippling with life and never at a standstill. NEW FROM RED HOUSE RECORDS Jorma Kaukonen Ain’t In No Hurry “One of the 100 Greatest Guitarists” – DAVID FRICKE/ROLLING STONE Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna cofounder, and one of the living masters of American roots music and rock, JORMA KAUKONEN returns with a masterwork produced by Grammy-winning producer LARRY CAMPBELL . WWW.REDHOUSERECORDS.COM February 2015 • LIVING BLUES • 51

Red House Records

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