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Paul Zerra Blues Piano & Boogie-Woogie Artist: Press Reviews

 

". . . When area Boogie Woogie Connesseur Paul Zerra turns up the heat on his keys, this Gumbo boils out of the pot." 
 
         - from  a review of Joe 'Survival' Caruso and the Boogie Woogie Boo-fay Blues Band
Jeff Fedora, president Daytona Beach Blues Society - Bank and Blues Newsletter (2010)

Paul Zerra’s piano playing is “. . . spicy and magnetic . . . it roams from New Orleans Boogie-Woogie to the drowsy, almost torchy stuff to sturdy, rafter-shakin’ roadhouse licks.”

Rick DeYampert, Entertainment Editor - Daytona Beach News-Journal (Aug 10, 2001)
Review of cd "Hot Rod Piano Boogie Baby"

...Yep, Zerra wasn't kidding when he dropped that "B" word into the title of his 10-track CD. Backed by bassist Jim Troxell and drummer Bill Harrington, Zerra pumps his piany with high-octane fuel and takes off on such self-penned instrumentals as "Truckin' Boogie," "Boogie Baby" (recorded live with Caruso on guitar), "Jaime La Boogie-Woogie" and "Boppin' Down the Avenue."

Guest vocalist Sybil Gage conjures the ghost of blues queen Bessie Smith on the Zerra-penned "Now You're Gone," a love-done-me-wrong lament.

Guest vocalist Christina Canalizo comes on like a speakeasy vamp (that's a compliment) on "Women Be Wise," in which she advises ladies to "don't advertise your man" -- or else you may find another woman "lovin' your man in your own damn bed." Canalizo channels Brenda Lee -- yep, Little Miss Dynamite -- on the rollicking "Good Woman Blues."

Throughout the album, Zerra's chops are tasty and lively. You know if he had been a piano player in one of those aforementioned, early 1930s speakeasies, the resident gangster would have been saying, "Play it again, Paulie."

You'll Like This If You Like: Pinetop Smith (of "Pinetop's Boogie-Woogie" fame), Meade "Lux" Lewis.

         From Choice discs by local artists  By RICK de YAMPERT, Entertainment Writer,      December 31, 2010  "Here's a look at new CDs by area artists."

There's so much to say about this album, it's hard to fit it into this little box. There doesn't seem to be enough good things to say about Paul Zerra and his motley crew of talented singers and musicians that he's recruited for Hot Rod Piano Boogie Baby, but one of the is definitely 'incredible'. If you're a fan of oldtime New Orleans, gritty blues then Women Be Wise, Now You're Gone, Good Woman Blues - and well pretty much ever song on this album - has what you're looking for. The wonderfully deep, soulful voice of Daytona Beach newcomer Christina Carnalizo practically kidnaps you in a DeLorean and takes you back to the 1920's and you find that you could almost be swapping stories over a couple of fingers of whiskey and a poker game with a man in a trilby. And let's not forget the gorgeous vocals of local legend Sybil Gage in Now You're Gone are mind blowing, beautiful and heartbreakingly truthful. The lyrics, the melody, the voices that appear on this album cut you to the bone and force you to take notice of how much work has been put into it, and rightly so.

I haven't even gotten to the music behind the voices yet. The instrumental tracks fill the album just as much as the voices, and it isn't just music. It's storytelling in it's most basic form. The way an orchestral score leads the action in a film or in a television plot, this album leads your imagination. You're back to being in a backwoods, Louisiana bar, sipping on a cocktail with a man named Bugsy, tapping your foot on the floor and eyeing up the cute girls on the side. I haven't heard anything quite like Paul Zerra's piano playing in a long tie, certainly nothing locally like it. Impeccable timing, coupled with some amazing musicians - Jim Troxell (bass), Bill Harrington (drums/percussion) and the legendary Joe 'Survival' Caruso on guitar - makes for ten well worth the money, fun (and sad) tracks that can't help but inspire you to just sit in a dim room, close your eyes and smile.

A must have for any blues fan - hell, for any music fan. Wonderful work by Paul Zerra and crew; bravo, I look forward to listening to your next.

Tasty Piano

This CD provides a nice mix of "classic" blues and a good intro to the boogie style piano. The insrtumentals are well recorded and the playing is high quality. The vocals are a nice addition to the overall mix and I particularly liked the version of Women Be Wise on this CD. If you like Pinetop Perkins this is the CD for you.

R. Gervason - Amazon.com (Jan 1, 2011)

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(Apr 16, 2017)