Rod Piazza

Here and Now

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Here and Now is as about as near to perfect as a modern-day blues album should get. Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers shine collectively like a well-polished diamond on this outing, produced by Piazza and guitarist extraordinaire Rick Holmstrom. The production is real live-on-the-floor stuff, expertly put into nice, retro-flavored mixes that make the quintet sound enormous. Piazza blows powerful harp free of clich├ęs (particularly potent on his showcase piece "Strat-O-Spheric") while writing or co-writing nine of the 11 tunes aboard here. Holmstrom's distorted Willie Johnson-like guitar sprays expert licks all over the place on top of the rock-solid support of string bassist Bill Stuve and drummer Steve Mugalian. But the real secret weapon on this album is Honey Piazza. Her piano work -- always prominent in the mix -- absolutely shines on "Brought Together By the Blues" and "First Love," two of the six tunes she co-wrote with husband Rod on here. Pushing himself and his band in new directions, this album makes a marvelous antidote to modern-day, paint-by-numbers cookie-cutter blues-rock fare.

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