The Washboard Chaz Trio


January 23, 2004

I took notice of Washboard Chaz a year ago when he sat in with the New Orleans Jazz Vipers and became one third of The Tin Men. I had never seen a washboard adorned with a bell and two tin cans, and better yet, Chaz flowed from one element to another like the washboard was an appendage he had used his whole life. It's no surprise Chaz graduated to a band of his own. For a Friday happy hour show at d.b.a., Chaz was backed by slide guitarist Roberto Luti and harmonica player Ben Maygarden for blues covers.

Chaz was in good spirits and introduced each song. Unfortunately, he had a stereotypical speedy and mumbled blues-man delivery that made it difficult to make sense of his words. The band played with soul, and it was appreciated. With the blues, a musician's attack can be more important than their musical ability.

Chaz's first song was a jumpiní Muddy Waters cover that was representative of the style he would stick to the whole set. The next song was a Harmonia-driven backyard blues number in which Luti and Maygarden provided needed percussion with in sync loud and heavy foot stomps.

The third song had Maygarden puttiní Elwood Blues to shame, but if any one player shone, it was within the group context. No solos. The next piece shuffled loudly as Maygarden took care of the vocals. The rest of the set was very enjoyable and ended with another Muddy Waters cover.

With such great execution, the band deserved a captive audience but didn't have it. About ten people sat as others hovered about. Letís hope that The Washboard Chaz Trio gets a late night spot soon so they can get the recognition they deserve.

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