A California-based blues bandleader, harmonica player, and singer, Rod Piazza’s stratospheric harmonica wailings owe a heavy debt to both Little Walter and George “Harmonica” Smith.
Piazza began his professional career as a member of the Dirty Blues Band in the mid-’60s. The Dirty Blues Band recorded two albums for ABC/Bluesway - an eponymous debut in 1967 and 1968’s Stone Dirty. Piazza left the band after the release of Stone Dirty, choosing to hit the road with his idol George “Harmonica” Smith instead. Over the next decade and a half, Piazza and Smith performed together frequently under the name Bacon Fat; they also recorded the occasional album. In 1969, Bacon Fat released their eponymous debut album on Blue Horizon. While he was performing with Smith, Piazza released his own solo albums, the first of which - Rod Piazza Blues Man - appeared on LMI in 1973. The second, Chicago Flying Saucer Band, was released in 1979 on Gangster Records.
As Smith’s health began to decline in the early ‘80s, Piazza assembled The Mighty Flyers - with his wife, Honey Alexander, on keyboards - which began playing clubs in 1980. Between 1981 and 1985, the Mighty Flyers released three albums: Radioactive Material (1981), File Under Rock (1984), and From the Start to the Finish (1985). During the early ‘80s, Piazza became a session musician, working with artists as diverse as Pee Wee Crayton and Michelle Schocked.
In the mid-’80s, he began a full-fledged solo career, releasing Harpburn on Murray Brothers in 1986 and So Glad to Have the Blues in 1988. Piazza and the Mighty Flyers signed a contract with Black Top Records in 1991; the label later re-released the group’s albums on CD. Throughout the ‘90s, Piazza continued to record and perform with the Mighty Flyers, releasing the occasional solo album, like 1999’s Here and Now and 2001’s Beyond the Source. Three years later the Mighty Flyers returned with Keepin’ it Real on the Blind Pig label featuring two new members, Paul Fasulo on drums and guitarist Henry Carvajal.
Soul Monster (2009) is Piazza’s 24th album and third release for Delta Groove. Over the last 44 years of playing music Piazza’s virtuosity on the harmonica and respect for tradition has been celebrated by fans and critics alike. Interplay, spontaneity, and classic chops are what have kept the Mighty Flyers soaring above . . . and it’s all here! Rest assured that Piazza and company deliver on a winning formula; a tantalizing recipe that’s been brewing for decades.