Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Review: Rod Piazza at Moe's Alley Friday: Is the Blues Dying?

In a club that was only half full for a great West Coast blues band, Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers, one had to wonder about the future of the blues.

Moe's Alley owner Bill Welsh thinks touring blues is a dying art form, and has scaled back the music at was once an all-blues venue (It used to be Moe's Alley BLUES Club). He's doing better these days with reggae, roots rock, world music and jam bands.

That was obvious when Rod Piazza, his wife Honey, and guitarist Henry Carvajal tore down the house Friday, and the house was way too sparse.

Check some video.

Piazza, who studied with and later played with George "Harmonica" Smith, has pushed his music into jazz territory, backed richly by wife Honey on keys, who keeps getting better and better, and maybe the most under-known guitarist out there today, Henry Carvajal.

So the question is: what happens now that the first generation of great African American bluesmen is almost gone. Will people pay to see the mostly white players who have stepped into their shoes?

Is this the end of the form, or will generations ahead eventually appreciate the likes of Piazza, Mark Hummel, Shane Dwight, Jason Ricci, Gary Smith, John Garcia and any number of third-generation players.

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