Primary Instrument: Organ, Hammond B3
Bruce Katz occupies a unique space where blues, jazz, rock, soul, and the many aspects of Americana all collide into a style of original instrumental music all his own. He is as comfortable playing soul-jazz on the Hammond organ as he is playing 1930's style stride piano or the meanest slow blues.
Besides leading the Bruce Katz Band, Bruce is currently playing regularly with Gregg Allman, John Hammond, The Organiks and performing with other artists as well. Bruce was also honored as a 2008 Nominee for the Blues Music Award for Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year, selected by the Blues Foundation.
Over the past twenty five years, Bruce has been an in-demand sideman as well as leading his own band. He has played and recorded with many of the leading names in blues and roots music, appearing on approximately 60 albums with artists such as Ronnie Earl, John Hammond, Duke Robillard, Jerry Portnoy, Little Milton, Jimmy Witherspoon, Eric Mingus, Big Mama Thornton, Mighty Sam McClain, Debbie Davies, David “Fathead” Newman and many others. Bruce has performed at festivals world-wide, including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Edinburgh Blues and Jazz Festival, Glastonbury Festival, Boston Globe Jazz Festival, Nice Jazz Festival, Notodden Blues Festival and many, many others. Bruce has a lengthy background in classical piano. After hearing a Bessie Smith record when he was 10 years old, he started teaching himself blues and early jazz on the piano. He then heard boogie-woogie and swing music and continued his musical journey into more aspects of jazz and American roots music. Bruce attended Berklee College of Music in the mid-1970s, studying Composition and performance. For the next fifteen years, he performed with many of the leading musicians in New England, and played “on the road” for long stretches of time. After a particularly long stint of touring in the late '80s with Barrence Whitfield and the Savages, he decided to come off the road and enrolled at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston where he earned a Master's degree in Jazz Performance and studied with Geri Allen, Paul Bley, Cecil McBee and George Russell. It was during this time that he conceived of and started writing music that became the Bruce Katz Band. Five months after graduation, he met Ronnie Earl, who soon invited him to join his band, The Broadcasters. During his nearly five-year stint with Earl, Katz toured the world and performed on six albums, writing and co-writing many of the tunes, such as The Colour of Love, Ice Cream Man, and Hippology. The album “Grateful Heart” (Bullseye) won the Downbeat Critics Poll for Best Blues Album of 1996. In 1992, Katz debuted his first solo album, Crescent Crawl, on the AudioQuest label. He released Transformation the following year. Just before the release of Mississippi Moan, his third solo album, Katz left the Broadcasters to concentrate on a solo career. At that point, the Bruce Katz Band began touring the U.S. and Europe, and has been his primary focus. His CD release in 2000, Three Feet Off The Ground” found Bruce featuring his Hammond B3 organ playing more than ever. Bruce’s most recent CD, “A Deeper Blue” (Severn Records), has been received with critical acclaim. The new CD rose to #13 on the National Living Blues Radio Chart, where it stayed for 3 months. Bruce has also been the subject of a recent feature story in Blues Revue magazine as well as reviews and features in Jazz Times, Downbeat and many major international blues and jazz magazines. In addition to performing, Katz teaches piano, Hammond organ and theory at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and teaches the first ever in-depth blues history/analysis course there as well. He also conducts Master Classes in Hammond B3 and Blues History, which he has done at various music festivals worldwide. The Bruce Katz Band maintains an active touring schedule throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.