Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Michael Ragonese: Day to Day


Michael Ragonese: Day to Day


Sign in to view read count
Michael Ragonese: Day to Day
If you haven't heard Michael Ragonese's name before, you're sure to hear it a lot more. The award winning pianist is a constant fixture in Los Angeles; if he's not a sideman at one club, he's leading a band at another. Among the many luminaries he has performed or recorded with are: Bennie Maupin, David Binney, Engelbert Humperdinck, Alphonso Johnson and Dave Koz, whose newest album will feature Ragonese. His busy performance schedule hasn't kept him from writing and perfecting his own music, though, and years of playing and practice have come to fruition in his beautiful debut album, Day to Day.

Produced by L.A.'s Josh Nelson, Day to Day features Walter Smith III and young phenom Shai Golan on saxophones along with Luca Alemanno on bass and Anthony Fung on drums, both alumni of the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance.

Ragonese's writing is best described as adventurous and exciting while remaining lyrical and and approachable. The many hours he has spent playing standards are evident, as is his love of modern players and composers. Tunes like "Jolly Rancher," bring to mind Aaron Parks while "Day to Day" would be right at home on one of Ben Wendel's records.

The album has no shortage of contrast and ranges from up-tempo vehicles for showcasing soloists, as on "Copycat," which features a short but powerful solo from Fung, whose accompaniment throughout the record warrants an repeated listen-throughs, to more introspective pieces like "Day to Day." The title track paints an evocative narrative arc with its melody and opens up into one of Ragonese's most compelling solos. Similarly, the colorful harmony on "Jolly Rancher" provides Smith a broad palette to improvise with, and he makes brilliant use of it, while the mixing and production glue the ensemble into a moody whole.

Other highlights include "Ceiling Fan," with its multilayered melody, and rhythmic complexity and "Dreams of Capri," which features a masterful solo from Alemanno. The album encourages several listens.

Track Listing

Slow Down; Dreams Intro; Dreams of Capri; Jolly Rancher; Day to Day; Copycat; Interlude; Paper Man; Ceiling Fan.


Michael Ragonese: piano; Walter Smith III: tenor saxophone; Shai Golan: alto saxophone; Luca Alemanno: bass; Anthony Fung: drums.

Album information

Title: Day to Day | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Self Produced



For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.


Garza / Fawcett / Wojtowicz
Dave Douglas
Friends & Neighbors


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.