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Bruce Katz (born August 19, 1952) is an American musician, playing piano, organ and bass guitar. From 1996 to 2010, he was on the faculty at the Berklee College of Music in Boston as an associate professor. He founded his own musical group, the Bruce Katz Band in 1991 and has recorded and toured with that band to the present. He has also recorded and toured with many other well-known artists in the Blues, Jazz and Rock music world.
Katz started playing classical piano at the age of 5. He began his professional musical career playing piano and bass guitar with various bands in Baltimore. He then decided to concentrate on piano and Hammond organ, and in particular, jazz and blues music. After studying music at the Berklee College of Music (1974-77) and playing primarily jazz in Boston, he got the opportunity to play bass guitar for Big Mama Thornton. This reconnected him with his love of the blues, which has been his main musical genre since that time.
From 1990-92 he enrolled at the New England Conservatory in Boston and received a Master's Degree in Jazz Performance.
After obtaining his Master's Degree, Katz formed The Bruce Katz Band with Marty Ballou and Lorne Entress and began recording on the Sledgehammer Blues (formerly AudioQuest Music) label. His first album as a leader, Crescent Crawl was released in 1992.
In 1992, he was also invited to join Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters. While with Ronnie Earl from 1992-97, Katz recorded 6 albums, including Grateful Heart, which won the Downbeat Magazine "Blues Album of the Year" award in 1996. He left the Broadcasters in 1997 in order to concentrate on the Bruce Katz Band. From then until the present he has led his own band and simultaneously maintained a sought after sideman status, recording and touring with many other artists, such as Delbert McClinton, Duke Robillard, Joe Louis Walker, Debbie Davies, David "Fathead" Newman, John Hammond and others.
From 2007 to 2013, Katz was a regular member of Gregg Allman and Friends. In 2011, he joined Delbert McClinton's Band and continued to play with him until 2014. He continues to play with John P. Hammond on occasion. Katz performed with Allman Brothers founding member Butch Trucks in two different groups - Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band and Les Brers, a band that contained 5 members of the Allman Brothers Band and Katz on keyboards, Lamar Williams Jr. on vocals and Pat Bergeson on guitar, in addition to Butch Trucks, Jaimoe, Marc Quiñones, Oteil Burbridge on bass and Jack Pearson on guitar.
Katz also performed with Jaimoe and Jaimoe's Jasssz Band, recording and writing on the Renaissance Man CD.
In 2014, Katz began to shift his primary focus to his own music and the Bruce Katz Band. In October 2014, Katz released Homecoming on the American Showplace Music record label. This album featured guests John P. Hammond, Randy Ciarlante, Jimmy Bennett, Marty Ballou, Peter Bennett, and was the first Bruce Katz Band album to feature vocals as well as instrumentals. Homecoming received critical and popular acclaim, garnering radio play in the US and worldwide, appearing at the top of Blues Radio charts. In 2016, he released another album on American Showplace Music, Out From The Center, which reached No. 1 on the Roots Music Report Blues Radio Chart.
In 2018, he released Get Your Groove! on American Showplace Music. This album featured Ray Hangen on drums and continued to combine original instrumental and vocal music. It also featured Jaimoe from the Allman Brothers on drums on three tracks, most notably a tribute to Butch Trucks called "Freight Train".
Katz released his first solo piano album titled Solo Ride on American Showplace Music in 2019. This all-instrumental album featured eleven original compositions and was a purely acoustic album featuring Katz playing at a grand piano. It was nominated by the Blues Foundation for a Blues Music Award Acoustic Album of the Year award in 2020
Awards and Honors
- Blues Piano Player of the Year Blues Music Award Nominated 2008, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2019, 2020
- Acoustic Blues Album of the Year Blues Music Award Winner 2019
- Acoustic Blues Album of the Year Blues Music Award Nominee 2020
- Outstanding Keyboard Instrumentalist Living Blues Nominated 2017, 2019
- Album of the Year Blues Music Award Nominee 2019
- Inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame 2013
- Blues Album of the Year Downbeat Grateful Heart as member of Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters 1996
Discography - As a bandleader
|2000||Three Feet Off the Ground||AudioQuest Music|
|2004||A Deeper Blue||Severn|
|2008||Live! At the Firefly||Brown Dog / VizzTone|
|2009||Project A (Bruce Katz and Joel Frahm)||Anzic|
|2016||Out from the Center||American Showplace|
|2018||Get Your Groove!||American Showplace|
|2019||Journeys to the Heart of the Blues (Bruce Katz, Joe Louis Walker, Giles Robson)||Alligator Records|
|2019||Solo Ride||American Showplace|
Selected recordings with other artists
- Barrence Whitfield and the Savages, "Ow Ow Ow!" 1986
- Mighty Sam McClain, "Give it up to Love" 1993
- Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, "Still River" 1993
- Albert Washington, "Step it up and Go" 1993
- Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, "Language of the Soul" 1994
- Jimmy Witherspoon, "Spoon's Blues" 1994
- Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, "Live in Europe" 1995
- Mighty Sam McClain, "Keep on Movin'" 1996
- Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, "Grateful Heart" 1996
- Kenny Neal/Tab Benoit/Debbie Davies, “Lonesome for the Road”, 1996
- Joe Beard, “Dealin’” 1998
- Mighty Sam McClain, “Journey" 1998
- Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, “The Colour of Love" 1997
- Joe Beard, “For Real”, 2000
- Mighty Sam McClain, “Sweet Dreams”, 2001
- Bryan Lee, “Six String Therapy”, 2002
- Duke Robillard, “Living with the Blues”, 2002
- Debbie Davies, “Key to Love”, 2003
- Bryan Lee, “Live and Dangerous”, 2004
- Little Milton, “What About Me?”, 2005
- Debbie Davies, “All I Found, 2005
- John Hammond, “Push Comes To Shove”, 2006
- Eric Mingus, “Healing Howl”, 2007
- Paul Rishell/Annie Raines, “A Night In Woodstock”, 2008
- Joe Louis Walker, “ Witness To The Blues “, 2008
- Alexis P. Suter, “Just Another Fool,” 2008
- Duke Robillard, “A Swinging Session“, 2008
- Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, “Renaissance Man”, 2012
- Delbert McClinton, “Blind, Crippled and Crazy”, 2013
- Giles Robson, "Don't Give Up on the Blues", 2019
Bruce Katz Band members
- Bruce Katz - 1991-present, piano, organ
- Lorne Entress -1991-1995, drums
- Marty Ballou - 1991-1993, bass
- Kevin Barry - 1992 -1995, guitar
- David Clark - 1993 -1994, bass
- John Payne - 1993-1994, saxophone
- Paul Bryan - 1994, bass
- Tom Hall - 1994-1998, saxophone
- Ralph Rosen - 1995-2016, drums
- Julien Kasper - 1996-2003, guitar
- Mark Poniatowski-1995-1999, bass
- Blake Newman - 1999-2002, bass
- Ed Spargo 2002-2003, bass
- Rod Carey 2003-2009, bass
- Michael Williams 2003-2006, guitar
- Christopher Vitarello 2006-2011, 2013-2018, guitar, vocals
- Jimmy Bennett 2011-2013, guitar, vocals
- Ray Hangen 2016-present, drums
- Aaron Lieberman (Aaron Maxwell) 2019-present, guitar, vocals
- Ham, Char (1952-08-19). "Bruce Katz - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-16.
- "Crescent Crawl". Valley Entertainment. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
- "Transformation". Valley Entertainment. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
- "Mississippi Moan". Valley Entertainment. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
- "Three Feet Off The Ground". Valley Entertainment. Retrieved 17 June 2010.