The Ric Molina Group's debut, @Dreamland, is a far cry from some of their leader's other gigs as a veteran New York guitarist who has performed in the pit orchestra for the Broadway hit Wicked or composed and recorded underscores for the iconic PBS children's television program The Electric Company. While the target audience is undoubtedly different here, Molina's acumen as a composer, bandleader, and performer is without question.
The old saying that "Iron sharpens iron" proves true with Molina's group of seasoned artists comprised of pristine production and bass work from the renowned sideman Fima Ephron; intensely emotive playing from rising saxophonist Samir Zarif; as well as vigorous performances from pianist Ted Baker and drummer Dan Pugach.
The wide-ranging set opens with an infectious African flavored riff in "The Tree" that contains a slinky sax/guitar harmony, followed by the funk rock "ProChannel" as Molina does some heavy shredding. There's a balanced thread of substance and style in tracks such as "October" colored with water sound effects, cooled keyboards, and a cohesive flow of electric and acoustic textures.
The compositions are not only technically shrewd; they deliver feeling and imagination. In the picturesque "November" Molina's tremolo effects provide gentle ripples, whereas in the intriguing "Soul Secret" changing moods move from gritty organ runs to mellifluous piano runs provided by Ted Baker. The result is a fully realized and quite engaging release from a behind-the-scenes musician who's waiting to be exposed to a wider audience.
Track Listing: The Tree; ProChannel; Squintet; October; BlackFoot; November; Oregon;
The Tree (Reprise); UnBroken; Soul Secret.
Personnel: Ric Molina: guitars; Samir Zarif: saxophones; Ted Baker: piano &
keyboards; Fima Ephron: bass; Dan Pugach: drums.
Year Released: 2013
| Record Label: Gutshot Media Inc
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!