Chaz DePaolo – One Night Live in Iona (DVD Review)
Fellow musicians have long recognized Bluesman Chaz DePaolo’s great talent, as evidenced by his 2012 induction into the Blues Hall of Fame (NY Chapter). DePaolo has toured around the US and Europe, sharing the stage with likes of Buddy Guy, Leon Hendrix, Chris Hillman, The Groundhogs, Commander Cody, Leon Russel, Stir Fried, and The New Riders of the Purple Sage, just to name a few. He’s paid his dues in coffee houses, holes, and bars, and he’s headlined major blues festivals, despite loosing almost a decade of guitar playing to a severe hand injury. He’s driven his van down the back roads of America in the wee small hours of the morning, racing from low paying gig to no paying gig.
He’s been burned, misused, abused, and cheated on. Chaz has lost money, guitars, and love, but he keeps right at it, not for fame but for the sheer joy of sharing his music, night to night, with live audiences. In doing so, Chaz DePaolo has built a loyal base of music fans wherever he’s performed. With four studio CD’s under his belt, DePaolo’s latest offering is a live concert DVD, One Night Live In Iona, filmed at Zion Iona Church in Lebanon, Pa. The sound was mixed at Squirrel Haven Studios in Lake Placid, NY by George Viscome and the music is so clear that it would stand alone without the video images. Backed by his regular touring band of Hank Kaneshige on bass, Cliff McComas on drums, and saxophone virtuoso Rob Chaseman, One Night Live in Iona gives us a front row seat to a spirited performance by one of today’s best blues guitarists. … Ladies and Gentlemen: Mr. Chaz DePaolo.
While rooted firmly in the Blues, DePaolo’s style fuses elements of jazz and classical music, delivered with a strong Rock n’ Roll back beat. Chaz is considered one of the “Masters of the Stratocaster” and his technical guitar ability takes a back seat to no one. This is evidenced throughout the performance. Following a musical introduction of his band, DePaolo dives into Chicago 101, then achieves his goal with “I Want To Get Funky”.
Next comes the slinky “Woman In A Black Dress”, aided by Chaseman’s sensual, seductive sax lines, conjuring images of high heels and scattered lingerie. “Cadillac Baby” is a song Chaz recorded with The Groundhogs, and the audience responds enthusiastically to its’ vocal interchanges as the band slides into ‘No More Doggin’” DePaolo delves deep into the slow blues with “Slow Bite”. He takes us deep with “Down So Long”, and lets it all go on “You Know My Baby.” Having been asked to perform on numerous occasions for the Jimi Hendrix annual tribute concert at BB Kings in NYC, ( and toured as Jimi’s brother Leon’s lead guitarist) , Mr. Hendrix’s profound influence on Chaz’s music comes through on the DVD’s finale “Voodoo Style Chazy.”
There’s some fascinating back room chatter at the end of the performance. Whether or not you’re already a fan of Chaz DePaolo’s guitar playing, the video and sound quality of this DVD will win you over. “Chaz DePaolo One Night Live in Iona” is an exciting and pleasurable musical sojourn, and I bet you won’t watch it just once.
Photo by Laura Carbone, all rights reserved