3

Ron Aprea Sextet: Remembering Blakey

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Ron Aprea Sextet: Remembering Blakey Legendary New York alto saxophonist Ron Aprea is recognized as much for his skills as an arranger, composer, record producer and band leader as he is known for his superb musicianship. On Remembering Blakey, Aprea brings to the fore all of his talents in churning out a monster album that pays homage to the leader of the famed Jazz Messengers. Unlike most tribute recordings, however, it is not a reprise of the drummer's music; none of the pieces can be directly attributed to Art Blakey. Instead, Aprea designs a repertoire of five standards, a couple of originals, and five compositions from long-time friend and hard bop bassist, Paul Brusger. The intent, of course, was to convey the fire and brimstone of the hard bop boss Blakey, captured so well here through the selection, arrangements and finesse play of the veteran musicians assembled for the album. Inspired by wife and singer Angela DeNiro, and originally envisioning a big band recording, Aprea decided to scale back the personnel and record with a sextet that includes three horns, thus allowing the saxophonist more solo space.

Brusger's fast-paced "Flown The Coop" starts the fires burning with an infectious intensity, as the saxophonist is joined by tenor player Jerry Weldon and renowned trumpeter Joe Magnarelli to blow the house down. Vince Cherico introduces "Minor Setback" as the group goes in to a catchy funk rhythm, bolstered by the leader's steamy solo on another hot tempered number. The fire subsides significantly on the following standard "My Foolish Heart," where bassist Tim Givens sets up a beautiful alto solo from the leader, the only horn player on this track, which also features the first balladic piece of the recording.

The Oliver Nelson standard "Latino" reignites the hard bop fire, and features George Hooks on percussion, with vibrant interplay from the horn section on what is a gyrating piece of music. The sound is more subdued on the mid tempo and delicious "In A Minor Funk," and quite restrained on the Gordon Jenkins tune "Goodbye," allowing the saxophonist another delicate solo spot on the album's second ballad. The up tempo waltz "Transition Blues" brings pianist Cecilia Coleman to the lead, while the last Brusger composition, "Andrea's Delight," perhaps offering the catchiest melody of the recording, highlights Aprea's favorite performance of the album.

Other outstanding tunes not to be missed here are the two Aprea originals: "Sophia," and the blistering finale "For Pete's Sake," nor the reinvigorated renditions of Ray Noble's "Cherokee" and the Jimmy Davis piece "Lover Man." In summation, one heck of an album deserving space in every jazz fan's collection. There's no question that Ron Aprea's tribute to the great Art Blakey is a powerful musical statement that says far more about Aprea then it could ever say about Blakey. Somehow, I don't think the drumming icon would mind.

Track Listing: Flown The Coop; Minor Setback; My Foolish Heart; Latino; In A Minor Funk; Goodbye; Transition Blues; Andrea's Delight; Sophia; Cherokee; Lover Man; For Pete's Sake.

Personnel: Ron Aprea: alto saxophone; Jerry Weldon: tenor saxophone; Joe Magnarelli: trumpet, flugelhorn; Cecelia Coleman: piano; Tim Givens: bass; Vince Cherico: drums; George Hooks: percussion (4, 5); Jerry Sokolov: trumpet (7).

Title: Remembering Blakey | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Early Autumn Productions


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Mist. Moss. Home." CD/LP/Track Review Mist. Moss. Home.
by Jim Olin
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "Eight Track II" CD/LP/Track Review Eight Track II
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Points of View" CD/LP/Track Review Points of View
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "Going North" CD/LP/Track Review Going North
by Chris Mosey
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "Vit" CD/LP/Track Review Vit
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "Onward" CD/LP/Track Review Onward
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 2, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.