Review: Arthur Migliazza – Laying It Down

Posted on: Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

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Arthur Migliazza – Laying It Down

(Hobemian Records: HB0017)

Whilst the 12 year old Arthur was attending a piano workshop at the Augusta Blues Week summer camp in West Virginia, his prodigious talents came to the attention of Judy Luis-Watson who in turn nurtured his talents and later Ann Rabson (Saffire: The Uppity Blues Women) who was an organiser/teacher there, also became a mentor of his and they went on to become firm friends.

After the Migliazza family moved to Tucson, the 13 year old Arthur began a full time career in music, his outstanding talent also led him to be mentored by Henry Butler. All this support and encouragement allowed Arthur to go on and share the stage with artists such as; Saffire: Uppity Blues Women, Little Milton, Henry Butler, Albert Lee, David Maxwell, Robert Cray and Bob Margolin.

The thirteen numbers here encompass virtually all the fields of piano styles from the rolling, strolling, comforting music from the likes of Professor Longhair, Fats Domino to the confident, strident, marching of Albert Ammons.  The opening number “Overture”, has the feel of an orchestra warming-up with the choral section fully expanding their lungs with the music settling down and moving in the right direction.

The proceedings start proper with Fats Domino’s “I’m Ready”, a swinging guitar and rolling, pounding piano back Arthur’s sweetly cheerful vocals. Huey Smith’s “Rocking Pneumonia & The Boogie Woogie Flu”, contains some lovely liltingly delivered piano rolls which leads into a stunningly beautiful and delicate yet, powerful version of Albert Ammons “Boogie Woogie Stomp”.

Assisting Arthur in this musical feast, in no particular order, are; Keith Lowe and Ed Friedland; bass, Andy Roth, Eric Eagle and Kelly Van Camp; drums, Jeff Fielder, Bill Molloy and Laura Martin; guitars.

The segueing of Louis Prima’s “Sing, Sing, Sing”, and Jack Fina’s “Bumble Boogie”, wonderfully re-arranges Benny Goodman’s big band version into a steamrollering powerhouse of piano that changes to highly atmospheric drum work that in turn unleashes upon your ears a primal percussive rhythm that evokes the sounds of darkest Africa. The steaming, rickety rolling images of Meade Lux Lewis’s “Honky Tonk Train Blues”, simply carry you along, those flowingly caressed ivories sound oh, so sweet upon the ears.

W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues” is given a sparkling relaxed tinged jazz feel with emotive boogie woogie flourishes throughout. Arthur’s tribute to the Professor is “Professor Calling Me”, a mixture Professor Longhairs’s signature sound and Arthurs stirring and emotive ivory tinkling evoking memories of that wonderful New Orleans sound. The album finishes in barnstorming fashion, with a full tilt, key pounding version of Albert Ammons “The Boogie Rocks”.

Essential!

BRIAN HARMAN

www.arthurmigliazza.com

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