Big Easy Boogie Club 88 Records

By Bob Putignano

Singer, pianist & songwriter Mitch Woods, needs no introduction to the jump boogie NOLA fans, as in addition to playing and recording with his regular band, Mitch has devoted some of his discs to his heroes- for example on 'Keeper of the Flame' he utilized the enormous talents of the late great John Lee Hooker, as well as Mr. Super Harp himself- James Cotton.

This CD/DVD 'Big Easy Boogie' is Woods' tip of his hat to the music of New Orleans. The CD was recorded almost six years ago and captures many members of the original Fats Domino band who illustrate and perform at near the peak of their creative and historical excellence. All the tunes are MitchWoods originals, except for the cover of Fat's 'I'm Ready.' The band swings mightily throughout and how could they not with the likes of drummer Earl Palmer, saxophonist Herb Hardesty, trumpet great Dave Bartholomew who also co-produced this very fine recording, and with bandleader Woods at the helm with his very fine piano playing, Woods & company truly capture the spirit of many of the great New Orleans recordings engineered and recorded by Cosimo Matassa- who is also interviewed on the DVD. CD highlights include the title track 'Big Easy Boogie,' 'Thought I Heard Satchmo Say' the appropriately titled instrumental 'Crescent City Flyer' and the ultra hip- late night smoky feeling reading of 'The Ballad of Dr. Daddy-O' by Tex Stephens where Mitch tickles the ivories ever so gracefully. Additional guests include; Maria Muldaur, Charmaine Neville, Bunchy Johnson, and John Mooney.

The DVD has two plus hours-of extra material, with excellent video taken from the CD recording sessions, and the live performance (with most members of the band on the CD) recorded at The 2002 Jazz & Heritage Festival. There is also fabulous interviews with Mitch who talks about his love of NOLA music, plus Big Easy veterans; Earl Palmer, Herb Hardesty, Bartholomew, and the aforementioned and all too often overlooked recording engineer; Cosimo Matassa (who definitely deserves to have his place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame- what's up with that?)

There is so much to like about 'Big Easy Boogie' both on the CD & DVD, as unlike many new blues based releases, their was obviously an awful lot of effort put forth by Mitch and everyone involved with this project, as the production level is top shelf from beginning to end. Boogie on!

Happy listening, Bob Putignano

Bob Putignano
Radio Host WFDU's "Sounds of Blue"
President of the NY Blues and Jazz Society