Music » Critics' Choices

Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers

Friday, September 20, and Saturday, September 21, at the Grand Emporium.


You've gotta love a harmonica man who not only mastered his harp under the tutelage of George "Harmonica" Smith but also did so under the band name Bacon Fat. Rod Piazza's résumé includes years working with the Dirty Blues Band, too, but he's been leading an actual blues band, the Mighty Flyers (who won W.C. Handy awards for best blues band two years running), for more than a decade. Part of the group's cohesion stems from the fact that he's been married to -- and playing with -- his terrific pianist, Honey Piazza, for just as long. The Mighty Flyers really fly -- Piazza's not just a star player with a group of hired guns. Piazza can cut loose for the kind of chromatic-key-blurring, thumb-fatiguing harp solo that leaves wanna-be harp players thinking about a new instrument. Or he can just as easily let the Mighty Flyers settle into a tender mood, then slip and slide with his harp and his voice oh, so gently over the top.

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