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Ron Aprea: Passion Supreme

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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AAJ: Going back to the album for a second, in listening to the album, there's very much a "live vibe" to it. Was that intentional?

RA: I work hard on this. I built my own studio about ten years ago. And every time I do a project, I get a little better with the sound. I think what a lot of people in the recording industry don't understand is that it's not how much equipment you have, rather it's knowing what musical instruments are supposed to sound like. A lot of recording engineers today don't do acoustic recording, so you can't really blame them. They don't know what a live guitar or saxophone sounds like. It's all electronics and synths now. These kids know their equipment better than I ever will. I don't know the difference between an Hz and a potato. I mix from the seat of my pants and I sit there and play with it until it sounds right. I pride myself on getting a good sound in my studio. Several reviewers, including you, have commented about the good fidelity on Remembering Blakey and I get as big a kick out of that as the positives about the music itself.

AAJ: As we speak today, Remembering Blakey has received outstanding reviews and has even been submitted for a Grammy nomination.

RA: I'm overwhelmed by the response I'm getting from musicians and the reviews. I went on one website and read like eighteen five-star reviews.

AAJ: Why do you think that is?

RA: I don't know. Part of it, I guess, is that a lot of new albums are trying to hard to be different. For this Grammy program, I'm listening to literally hundreds of artists' productions. We share our music and try to gain support. Some of it is great, but many are way over-produced—maybe trying too hard to be different and innovative. And maybe forcing it a bit in some cases. Apparently there is still an audience for straight ahead music that swings.

AAJ: I think it's because it's a very genuine presentation. A fine portrait of the musicians here and the Blakey/Messenger Era and classic Hard Bop tradition.

RA: I think there's simplicity here. Not that the music is simple or easy to play, but simplicity is in the style. It's straight-ahead, toe-tapping, high-energy, happy music and easy to understand. A Hard Bop feel to it. Not many people are doing that anymore. So in that respect it's really different, but it's pretty much what I've been doing all my life.

AAJ: What's coming down the pike?

AAJ: On behalf of All about Jazz, thank you and good luck on the Grammy nomination and all your future projects.

RA: Thank you Nick, and thanks to All About Jazz.

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