Renowned Hammond B-3 Organist Bruce Katz Embarks on Soak Up The Sun Tour

Bruce Katz, renowned Hammond B-3 organist/keyboardist and four-time Blues Music Award nominee, and his Bruce Katz Band, embark on their ‘Soak Up The Sun’ Tour, beginning January 31 at...

Bruce Katz, renowned Hammond B-3 organist/keyboardist and four-time Blues Music Award nominee, and his Bruce Katz Band, embark on their ‘Soak Up The Sun’ Tour, beginning January 31 at The Blue Note in Durham, NC. Katz has also performed with the Delbert McClinton Band, Ronnie Earl, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, and John Hammond, the latter whom he still plays with on occasion. A member of the Gregg Allman Band from 2007-2013, Bruce, who calls West Shokan, NY home, near Woodstock – continues to tour as a member of Les Brers, featuring former members of the Allman Brothers, and was a full-time member of Butch Trucks and the Freight Train, fronted by the legendary ex-Allman Bros. drummer who passed away a year ago January. His most recent album release is “Out  From The Center” (American Showplace Music).

Katz recently sat down for a “5 Quick Questions” interview with Blues-E-News. Here’s how it went.

BEN: What’s the one continuous pleasure you always get as a musician when touring?
BK: The pleasure of communicating to audiences is the best and most fun aspect of touring and performing to me…having that instant and direct response to the music…especially an emotional response of people who might not have ever heard my band is really satisfying. Oh…and getting to eat regional food specialties is fun too!

BEN: Is it hard to transport the Hammond B-3 organ you play, when taking it on tour?

BK: I often take the Leslie Tone Cabinet – that large wooden box with the spinning speakers…but these days take a digital Hammond-made organ with sounds so good – and the 425-pound B3 is a bit much to carry at this point!

BEN: You’ve recorded and toured with some of the biggest names in music. Which of these artists stands out the most in your memory (pick three)?
BK: Well, I’ve been so lucky to have toured and recorded with so many, it’s hard to pick three. But if I have to, I’ll say: 1. Gregg Allman – a dream come true to play for years with one of my heroes, playing songs that gave me chills every night to play. 2. Ronnie Earl – For five years (1992-97) and six albums, I had the pleasure of playing in the most intense “Blues” (and beyond) band in the world. Ronnie and I together would regularly and literally blow the roof and the walls up where we played! 3. John Hammond – Deep, soulful blues that is almost otherworldly…I was as captivated as the audiences.
BEN: Give us your take on the “Jam Band” scene/movement, and how it relates to the Blues?
BK: My roots go deep in the Jam Band world…I saw the Grateful Dead countless times between 1969-74, saw the Allman Brothers with Duane, etc. These bands had their roots deep in Blues, as did I. I remember seeing Buddy Guy and Junior Wells open for the Jefferson Airplane at the Fillmore East! My favorite current “jam bands” are ones that have Blues/Americana roots…there’s something to grab onto there that make the jams more satisfying. I’m not that into the Funk/Fusion that some contemporary Jam bands favor.
BEN: You’re about to kick off your “Soak up The Sun” Tour, any new surprises in store for your fans?
BK: I have nine albums over twenty-five years…and we’re dusting off some early tunes of ours that we haven’t played in a really long time…we continue to pick new, very choice covers that might be a fun surprise to many of our fans. And I might be doing some back-up singing…hopefully that will be a pleasant surprise!
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