featuring Stefan Grossman, Danny Kalb & Steve Katz
Depending on the venue, the Web site, or to whom one talks, they're called Kalb, Grossman and Katz; Grossman, Katz and Kalb; Katz, Kalb and Grossman; and every other possible combination. At the end of the day, though, they're Steve Katz, Danny Kalb and Stefan Grossman, master guitarists who have been members of such seminal bands as the Even Dozen Jug Band, Blues Project, Blood, Sweat & Tears and American Flyer.
"We're three old guys who get together every now and then," Katz says, laughing..."We know each other so well, as friends and musicians. Danny and I have been playing together constantly over the years because we've been doing Blues Project reunions, and then we have done some gigging together, just the two of us. And it's been the same thing with Stefan and me. Every now and then we get together and play a gig. We have always kept in touch. When the three of us get onstage, it's like not a day was skipped. We play the same stuff, test each other like we always have, and it's like we're young again. It's fun."
Track Listing: (click on tracks for mp3 sound samples)
|1. Played a Little Fiddle
2. Green Rocky Road
3. Mississippi Blues
4. Old Country Rock
5. Candyman Fantasia
6. Medley: Katz Rag & My Creole Belle
7. Richland Woman Blues
8. Kettle of Fish
9. Rising of the Midnight Sun
10. Long Distance Call
11. Living in the Country
12. Southbound Train
13. Shuffle Rag
14. Bolden Blues
15. Glory of Love
Review: Statesmen of The Real Folk Blues: This acoustic trio is comprised of three elder New Yorkers who have become statesmen of the real Folk Blues. Stefan Grossman studied with Reverend Gary Davis and in 1964 formed the Even Dozen Jug Band, which included Maria Muldaur and John Sebastian, among others. Danny Kalb was a founding member of The Blues Project along with Steve Katz. Katz went on to help form Blood, Sweat and Tears with Al Kooper, and later was a member of American Flyer. These three have been associated together in the past (Danny Kalb and Stefan Grossman recorded Crosscurrents in 1969) and therefore this album is like a reunion.
Opening is Steve Katz playing harmonica and singing on "Played A Little Fiddle." Stefan Grossman and Danny Kalb trade licks on this infectious tune. Guitar instrumentals included are "Old Country Rock," "Shuffle Rag," "Candyman Fantasia," and Pete Seeger's "Living In The Country." Grossman is usually fingerpicking while Kalb is handling the bass line and building his lead. On the instrumental "Mississippi Blues" Steve Katz is added again on harp. On "Katz Rag" Katz is playing the washboard; this medley evolves into Katz's vocal on Mississippi John Hurts' "My Creole Belle." On "Rising of The Midnight Sun," another instrumental, Grossman plays slide guitar. The combination of acoustic guitars creates moods ranging from the more traditional to John Fahey-like eclectic sojourns. This is great late-night music for relaxation.
Kalb sings lead on Muddy Waters' "Long Distance Call." Kalb's guitar is wicked as he takes a wild solo. Katz's harmonica playing has never sounded better. Kalb sings again on Big Bill Broonzy's "Southbound Train." Grossman sings lead on "Richland Woman Blues" and on Jelly Roll Morton's "Buddy Bolden Blues." Katz also sings on "Green Green Rocky Road," and again on his own song about the 1960s, "Kettle of Fish," and on Billy Hill's "Glory of Love."
Not only is it great to hear Steve Katz sing again, but this album also reminds us of how beautiful the combined styles of acoustic guitar can be when played by masters of the instrument. Their camaraderie is reflected in their playing, which can only be described as exuberant. – Folk Wax
Review: Whether or not they ever recorded Played A Little Fiddle, guitarists Stefan Grossman, Danny Kalb, and Steve Katz would still engage in the same musical discourse off somewhere in a kitchen or on a porch. Their three-man rapport develops as naturally relaxed as a Sunday afternoon, singing and playing for their own enjoyment. Being able to know each other's intricate moves- weaving in and out of ";Candyman Fantasia" like Blue Angels or collaboratively winding a helix of sweet notes around "Green, Green Rocky Road" - is no product manufactured from arranged studio encounters. It's long-standing friendship, along with pedigree, chops, style, and pure sixth sense. Grossman is the card carrying acoustic connoisseur, having partnered with Son House, Rev. Gary Davis, John Renbourn, and his own Even Dozen jug Band. And despite his partners' fabled histories with the full-on electric Blues Project (Kalb and Katz) and Blood, Sweat & Tears (Katz), they all opt for the classic, clean unplugged sound. Their guitars toll to the breezy buzz of harmonica and occasional rub on a washboard. Each of them takes turns crooning over vintage themes of Creole belles, Buddy Bolden, long distance calls, and the glory of love. Yet it's the zen-like quality of their instrumentals - models of timing and grace that allow the fine prismatic detail in "Old Country Rock" to sparkle and for "Living In The Country" to unwind like a music box. So don't come expecting to hear a little fiddle played. Instead it's the often beautiful chime of guitar. – Dennis Rozanski/BluesRag