Hugh Ragin's title track reminds us that music communicates expression. His passion shines through warmly. By adopting the classic jazz quintet format for his third Justin Time release, the trumpeter has retained a mainstream sensibility. However, his adventurous nature remains evident from start to finish. Standards and originals swing, while introducing flights of fancy throughout. The ensemble interprets with clarity and a natural ease. Their session combines avant-garde thrills with picturesque impressionism, sullen blues and joyful swing. Ragin's trumpet attains a wide range of emotions through his buoyant, conversational style. He and Assif Tsahar make a fruitful front line. Their rhythmic drive on "Freedom Jazz Dance," "Gulf Coast Groove" and "Caravan" moves boldly. It's powerful stuff that moves the soul. The session's final number, a solo trumpet piece, recalls the late Lester Bowie. Ragin, who has music degrees from the University of Houston and Colorado State University, who has taught at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and who's earned much of his experience performing with David Murray, favors an adventurous, modern mainstream program. This one comes recommended for its ease of understanding and its enjoyable attitude.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.