All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

126

Ron Affif: Ringside

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
Ron Affif, like George Benson, Jimmy Ponder and Joe Negri, is a guitarist from Pittsburgh. Like Benson and Ponder, Affif owes something of his sound and swing to Wes Montgomery. But he's also clearly influenced by the technical virtuosity and warmth produced by Joe Pass. Ringside, Affif's fourth record on Pablo, is dedicated to his father, middleweight champion Charlie Affif, and the eight tunes here suggest a sort of boxing theme. The guitarist, though, assisted in his trio by Essiet Essiet on bass and former Pass man Colin Bailey on drums, pulls no punches. His music comes out swinging, but its strength is in melodic and refreshingly involving lyricism.

Like Cannonball Adderley's record Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, Ringside was recorded in front of a small studio audience at Fantasy Studios (over three days last February). Affif begins the program with a faster-than-usual "If I Were A Bell," and turns in one of the least corny versions of this song in memory. "Don't Make Me Pull That Tongue Out" (great title!) and "Uncle Joe," two of four Affif originals, are perhaps the disc's best tracks and clearly suggest Wes Montgomery's chord structures on those rollicking Riverside romps. When Affif slows the pace, though, as he does on "Farewell," the solo "Holly" or the lovely "I Should Care," he tends toward single-note phrases reminiscent of Joe Pass.

Affif distinguishes himself, however, in the resonant bell-like tone he manages to produce from his guitar. Another plus is a style that's all his own — and very unusual for a guitarist. Whether playing at fast tempos (as in the excellent "Alone Together") or slower ones, Affif is never too hurried to spit out a phrase or an idea. He labors over his melodies with a precision that is patient and caring. Yet he never once betrays conception or construction by hanging on notes too long or stretching ideas over too many measures. Very classy — and worth a close listen.

An earlier guitar tribute to Miles Davis should have brought Ron Affif more attention. Hopefully, Ringside will. It's quite a good disc that guitar-trio fans are sure to enjoy.


Title: Ringside | Year Released: 1997 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Elvesang CD/LP/Track Review
Elvesang
by John Kelman
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Necessary Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Necessary Arrangements
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Uniting Beats (Ritmos Que Unen) CD/LP/Track Review
Uniting Beats (Ritmos Que Unen)
by Barry Witherden
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Influences CD/LP/Track Review
Influences
by Don Phipps
Published: February 17, 2018
Read async Remodels CD/LP/Track Review
async Remodels
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Way Out West CD/LP/Track Review
Way Out West
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: February 16, 2018
Read "Bright Yellow with Bass" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by John Sharpe
Published: December 2, 2017
Read "The Best of Big Star" CD/LP/Track Review The Best of Big Star
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Rebirth" CD/LP/Track Review Rebirth
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 4, 2017
Read "Infância" CD/LP/Track Review Infância
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 3, 2017
Read "Landed in Brooklyn" CD/LP/Track Review Landed in Brooklyn
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "The Bucket List" CD/LP/Track Review The Bucket List
by Doug Collette
Published: October 28, 2017