Chicago-based pianist Bob Acri has impressive musical credentials that include seventeen years as staff pianist for the NBC/ABC Radio Orchestra, touring with Harry James, and being the house pianist at Mr. Kelly's jazz club in Chicago. This is only Acri's second album. His debut, Timeless (Southport, 2002), featured the same originals that are performed here in a quartet setting. Bob Acri has founded The Cavalcade of Music Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable organization, which will receive all proceeds from the sale of this album.
At the age of 85, Mr. Acri is a sure-footed pianist and composer who has assembled a sextet of estimable and tested musicians and is very much an equal opportunity employer. Trumpeter Lew Soloff is featured on the first two tracks, "Wake Robin" and "Watch What Happens," upon which he plays beautifully. To no one's surprise, Soloff is also the centerpiece of "I'll Remember Clifford." He is also featured in a much hotter style on "Sweet Georgia Brown."
Frank Wess' flute expertise is shown in a duet with Acri and the trio on the original "Lonely Girl" and tenor sax on "Tribute to Buddy." Chicago violinist and recording artist Diane Delin gets some good opportunities on "It Could Happen To You" and "Sleep Away." Acri's skills at leading a trio are presented on his own "Bob's Blues" and "Why Did I Choose You." Rounding out the group are two of the most frequently-recorded artists in jazzbassist George Mraz and drummer Ed Thigpen who form the backbone of this sextet.
...Presents Bob Acri is a quality package for both the leader and the players, displaying the talents of a pianist/composer who has been flying below the radar for too long.
Track Listing: Wake Robin, Watch What Happens, Lonely Girl, It Could Happen To You, Bob's Blues, I Remember Clifford, Tribute to Buddy, Sleep Away, I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face, Why Did I Choose You, Sweet Georgia Brown, Sleep Away(reprise).
Personnel: Bob Acri, piano; Frank Wess, flute, sax; Lew Soloff, trumpet; Diane Delin, violin; George Mraz, bass; Ed Thigpen, drums.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.