138

Ron Blake: Sonic Tonic

By

Sign in to view read count
Ron Blake: Sonic Tonic Sax man Ron Blake tapped various sources and influences for Sonic Tonic, most prominent of which involve his Caribbean roots. This album, expertly produced by Me'Shell NdegéOcello, also explores various other genres, and few beats are missed in the execution.

The opening "Invocation, a tune in the finest tradition of John Coltrane's most spiritual works, is not as overwhelming or guttural, but certainly no less passionate. It begins with Christian McBride's hypnotic bass line and marches on with Blake's strong but not overstated tenor. Michael Cain's piano solo is later complemented by Blake on soprano, McBride anchoring the groove. "Chasing the Sun is a light, up-tempo tune with a restless melody. As Blake explores the harmony, Cain does double duty on keyboards, drummer Terreon Gully percolating beneath David Gilmore's spitfire electric guitar solo.

"Dance of Passion, a Johnny Griffin tune, has a Middle Eastern melody that seems heavily influenced by "Caravan. The core group is augmented here by two not terribly common instruments in jazz: Vincent Chancey's French horn and Marcus Rojas' tuba. Josh Roseman's New Orleans growling on the trombone gives the tune a nice brass gumbo.

Blake plays his most seductive tenor on "The Windmills of Your Mind, with Gully's cymbal work providing a dramatic backdrop. On "Shades of Brown he expertly economizes where other sax players might have used honking, screeching or wailing to belabor their points. The title cut and "Tom Blake (revisited) are Caribbean-influenced, the former featuring a low down electric bass groove by Reuben Rogers, Cain's brewing organ, and soaring trumpet by Sean Jones.

Blake, making his tenor almost as tender as a soprano, does a fine job with Cain on "Pure Imagination, a tune that in recent years has evolved into a jazz standard. The disc comes full circle with a variation on the opening "Invocation, with Pedro Martinez on congas. This is one of the more spirited tunes on the disc, and it improves considerably on the original.

Note: a two-CD limited edition of Sonic Tonic is also available, featuring hip-hop-inflected remixes of several of these songs.


Track Listing: Invocation; Chasing the Sun; Your Warm Embrace; Dance of Passion; The Windmills of Your Mind; Shades of Brown; Sonic Tonic; Tom Blake (Revisited); Pure Imagination; Pissarro's Floor; Invocation (Dance of Fire).

Personnel: Ron Blake: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute; Michael Cain: piano, keyboards; Christian McBride: bass; Chris Dave: drums; Terreon Gully: drums; David Gilmore: guitar; Reuben Rogers: electric bass; Josh Roseman: trombone; Gilmar Gomes: percussion; Vincent Chauncey: french horn; Marcus Rojas: tuba; Sean Jones: flugelhorn; Greg Hutchinson: drums; Pedro Martinez: congas.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Mack Avenue Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "2nd Thoughts" CD/LP/Track Review 2nd Thoughts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 8, 2017
Read "TriAngular Bent" CD/LP/Track Review TriAngular Bent
by Dave Wayne
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "One for Marian" CD/LP/Track Review One for Marian
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: June 14, 2016
Read "Oblique Mirrors" CD/LP/Track Review Oblique Mirrors
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 9, 2016
Read "Caipi" CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "The Big Shake-Up" CD/LP/Track Review The Big Shake-Up
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 21, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!