Arthur Migliazza review…April 9, 2014…

ARTHUR MIGLIAZZA

LAYING IT DOWN

HOBEMIAN RECORDS  HB 0017

OVERTURE–I’M READY–ROCKIN’ PNEUMONIA AND THE BOOGIE WOOGIE FLU–BOOGIE WOOGIE STOMP–LOVE YOU MAMA–SING SING SING/BUMBLE BOOGIE–BOURBON STREET PARADE–THANK YOU BLUES–HONKY TONK TRAIN BLUES–SUITCASE BLUES–ST. LOUIS BLUES–PROFESSOR CALLING ME–THE BOOGIE ROCKS

Along with making the Finals a few months back at the IBC’s representing Washington state, Arthur Migliazza also can be heard on keys on fellow “northwesterner” Polly O’ Keary’s “Compass” CD.  He learned piano as a child, and mentored with Ann Rabson, even playing with the other members of Saffire at Ann’s memorial when she passed away.

On his latest release, “Laying It Down,” Arthur makes his intentions clear—he wants to bring the boogie woogie piano back to the forefront of blues, since it was such an integral part of not only blues, but rock and roll in its early days.  As such, he and his band have, well, “layed down” thirteen tracks that showcase Arthur’s incredible piano abilities while concentrating on the left-hand dominating boogie beat.  There are four of Arthur’s originals mixed among covers that keep the left hand pounding the rhythm while the right hand adds color and flair.

The set starts with the original “Overture,” with its notes of things to come as it builds to a New Orleans-ish climax, with Jeff Fielder on the wah-wah guitar.  He rocks two of Albert Ammons’ classic pieces, “Boogie Woogie Stomp,” and the set-closing left-hand brilliance of “The Boogie Rocks.’

Arthur also pays tribute to some of the Crescent City’s best boogiemen, with a fine read of the Fat Man’s “I’m Ready,” Huey Smith’s “Rockin’ Pneumonia,” and, perhaps the best of these, as Arthur adds his own personal touch to Henry Roeland Byrd’s “Tipitina” entitled “Professor Calling Me.”

We had three favorites, too.  This is the Centennial anniversary of the publishing of W. C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues,” and Arthur rocks it for all it’s worth, with plenty of tricky time and signature changes, while staying true to the melody.  Perhaps the most “traditional” blues cut is a Chicago-styled  number that features Grant Dermody on harp as Arthur lovingly shuffles over a tribute to his mother, “Love You Mama.”  And, his medley of “Sing Sing Sing/Bumble Boogie” is the true show-stopper.  He fires off run after run on these two chestnuts over the course of six blistering minutes, showing off a plethora of his moves with ease.

If Arthur Migliazza wants to bring back the boogie to the blues, then “Laying It Down” is a great start.  An irresistible groove runs throughout from a brilliant young musician!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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