Bruce is no stranger to a Hammond Organ either and teaches master classes in Hammond Organ as an Associate Professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
This all came about last year almost to the day John Hammond came to Mike's Barn (April 28, 2008) and we where discussing his last album "When push comes to shove" when he brought up Bruce Katz. John told me that in nearly 40 years in the business and nearly 40 albums later that he had never worked with a better piano player in his career. If you know John Hammond's history then you know that that's a huge endorsement. About a month after that show I got a call from Steve Langbein , Bruce's manager and he told me that he and Bruce had just had dinner with John and Marla Hammond the prior evening and that John had strongly recommend to Bruce to call me and set up a show given the fact that he had seen all the Hammond Organs and odd piano's set up in the Barn. By the way, John told Bruce that Mike's Barn was one of his favorite joints to play (plug). So, when Bruce's tour finally came this way we decided to give it a shot.
It wasn't long after talking to Bruce that I called Tony Monaco to see if he would be interested in coming up to the Barn this summer for a show. I've known Tony for a few years and we have never been able to find a date that worked. I mentioned to Tony that Bruce was coming in May and he said he wasn't touring in May and that we could make that work and that it would be fun to do a show with Bruce. Tony lives in Columbus. Both Bruce and Tony are endorsed by similar sponsors and they have often met at the NAMM industry shows.
Tony Monaco has made a huge splash in the world of jazz trio in the last few years and brought about a organ revival in jazz circles with his incredible chops. He's fast become thee guy in jazz organ and last year joined forces with the legendary jazz guitarist Pat Martino. Together, they are currently touring Europe with a stop in Africa as I write.
I decided to call Bruce and check to see if he was ok with the idea, which he was, and I called back Tony and the organic show was born.
My first thought was that this would be some kind of organ show but after awhile I started to see the show for what it really was and that was that we had two of the top players in their field and that this show was simply going to be about serious chops. Serious Chops is music slang for bad ass musician. With that in mind I couldn't help but call Doug Johns and invite him to open the show, which he later agreed. Doug fits the serious chops title quite well and has been making a huge splash recently with magazine covers, seriously funky albums and some seriously bad ass collaborations with the likes of Victor Wooten and others.
It's a rare show indeed that you won't see the likes of anywhere else. It's about serious big chops from true vanguards in todays music and a really intimate setting to absorb it.