Review By: Art Jackson
Visions & Friends is exactly what came together for the evening at the famed Catalina Jazz Club Bar & Grill in Hollywood last night.
Bob Holz, drums, Chet Catallo, guitar, Ralphe Armstrong, bass, David Goldberg, sax, Billy Steinway, piano and special guest Jeff Jarvis, trumpet provided a two hour nonstop set of Smooth Jazz, Latin Jazz and other forms of jazz all in between. Performing mostly songs from both Bob’s and Chet’s latest CD’s Bob Holz “Vision & Friends” which featured the late Larry Coryell whom tonight was dedicated for along with good friend and fellow drummer Alphonse Mouzon. And Chet’s CD “First Take” from his band Chet Catallo and The Cats which was a live 2 disc CD that earned 13 Grammy nominations.
First it was evident that these guys really enjoyed playing with one another as they would have strong eye contact followed by great smiles and gestures. Playing tracks from Bob’s CD “Take It From Maurice” which is in honor of his close friend Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire., “Bob Blues,” “Eleven High,” and “For The One” as Jeff Jarvis gave great solo’s on his shiny silver trumpet. The song that captured the evening for me by paying homage to both Larry and Alphonse was “One Breath Two Hearts” as writer/composer Billy Steinway so adequately penned an angelic sound that both artists I am sure would have felt was a perfect home coming. All throughout, these excellent musicians gave riveting solo performances on each song and was appreciated by the numerous applauses from the audience.
With the show playing a mixture of tracks from both Bob and Chet’s CD’s, Chet had a workout on his guitar honoring three legendary artists. “Latin Sunrise,” “Wes Is Born” paying homage to West Montgomery whom many calls the best guitarist of the century and “Summer Groove” for his dear friend George Benson whom some would consider a close second to Wes and a tune that has not been recorded yet for the late Joe Sample which I am sure will be on his next project.
Just like any good night with friends there was a little comic relief and the only vocal song in the set as Ralphe Armstrong open up with a bluesy number called “Blue Mash Potatoes” where he gave a brief monologue description of how mash potatoes infused with Viagra would make a 300 pound ugly woman look good., or was that 400 pounds as she gained weight based upon Ralphe clarification.
Also in the house this evening was none other than Ms. Freda Payne and bassist Grammy Winner Stanley Clarke in the audience supporting his good buddy Ralphe Armstrong who hails from Detriot, while Bob and Chet both from upstate New York flew into Los Angeles for this special show.
Bob Holz was a close friend and played often with Larry Coryell while Chet Catallo whom you may also know from his days with the powerhouse band Spyro Gyra, I met after the show and you will not meet two more humble guys as I walked away, it felt like hanging with two old friends.