[8 November 2009]
After winning the prestigious Blues Music Award for Band of the Year no fewer than four times during the group’s 29-year history, Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers face the challenge of keeping its music sounding fresh and exciting. That’s just what the west coast harp player and singer, along with his wife Honey on piano, drummer David Kida, and guitarist Henry Carvajal, succeed in doing with style on Soul Monster, its third outing for Delta Groove. Led by Piazza’s innovative harmonica style—a surprising bag of tricks throughout, whether he’s coming on like a soulful locomotive blowing low-slung, grinding notes on the funky instrumental title track or joining ranks with the two guesting tenor saxophones on the swinging cover of Jimmy Liggin’s “That’s What’s Knockin’ Me Out”—, the Mighty Flyers touch base with the past as Honey’s left hand takes flight on a rocketing boogie-woogie rendition of George “Harmonica” Smith’s instrumental “Sunbird” and a reworking of “Blues In ‘92” as “Tell Me About It Sam”, a tribute to late friend Sam Myers. Best of all, however, is when Cavajal takes lead vocals on the suave teen-cruiser “Talk to Me”, a hit for Little Willie John back in ‘58.