Musician? Boost Your Visibility at All About Jazz

Upgrade your AAJ musician page from standard to premium and make your presence felt!

Maximize your visibility at All About Jazz by upgrading your musician page from standard to premium. With it, you'll receive All About Jazz home page exposure, a highly stylized / ad-free musician page with bonus features and benefits, an ad, plus you control where you sell your music and so much more.
Learn More
30

Rocket: Tipp-Topp

Bruce Lindsay BY

Sign in to view read count
Rocket: Tipp-Topp
Rocket—led by writer and keyboardist Emanuel Ruffler—refers to the music on its debut, Tipp-Topp, as Disco Jazz. Lest such a description have too many people running for the hills to escape visions of big hair and bigger flares, it needs stating up front that the epithet fits in a good way. Disco was about having fun, creating danceable grooves that would fill a dance floor time and time again. That's what Rocket does with pretty much everything on this album.

Ruffler won the 1998 Thelonious Monk Composers Competition and has worked as a sideman or writer with singer-songwriter, bassist and vocalist Meshell Ndegeocello and drummer Joe Chambers, among others. Ruffler's first album as a leader, Nightflight (Pursuance Records, 2009), was similarly upbeat, but there's an increased confidence about the playing and writing on this album, a definite step up which fulfills the promise of that debut.

Apart from Ruffler, the only ever-present player is percussionist Jaz Sawyer, whose rhythmically strong playing is enhanced by some inventive touches. A series of guests join Ruffler and Sawyer across the album, ensuring variation in sound and mood. Trumpeters Duane Eubanks and Vitaly Golovnev, and flautist Michel Gentile, who all joined Ruffler on Nightflight, are present on this album as well. Eubanks is an especially emphatic presence, notable for his intense upper register playing on "In Miraculous Ways" and his jauntier, warmer, tone on "Panda."

"Architectonics," a Ruffler solo performance, is a short amalgam of electronics and found sounds. It flows neatly into "Bahia," an irresistibly cheerful groove that combines the talents of Gentile, Golovnev, and bass clarinetist Sam Sadigursky over a funky rhythm section featuring bassist Patrice Blanchard. Gentile adds a softer, more romantic sound to "Green Waterfalls." Ruffler clearly has a fondness for reggae, most obvious on the catchy "Little Reggae" but also apparent in the rhythms and percussion on the title track.

With a name that bears a close resemblance to a major Herbie Hancock hit and led by a keyboard player with a penchant for electronics, this band could be setting itself up for a fall. Rocket avoids the danger by virtue of sharp and fun tunes in addition to skilled and enthusiastic playing. Tipp-Topp is what it says it is.

Track Listing

Tipp-Topp; Panda; Miss Universe Japan; Green Waterfalls; I Enjoy Being A Star; Little Reggae; Architectonics; Bahia; Race Car '63; In Miraculous Ways.

Personnel

Emanuel Ruffler: organ, keyboards; Jaz Sawyer: drums, percussion; Duane Eubanks: trumpet (1-3, 5, 6, 10); Michel Gentile: flute (4, 8, 9); Vitaly Golovnev: trumpet (4, 8, 9); Adam Niewood: tenor saxophone (1-3, 5); Sam Sadigursky: bass clarinet: (1, 2, 8); Rashaan Carter: bass guitar (1, 2, 3, 5, 10); Patrice Blanchard: bass guitar (4, 8, 9).

Album information

Title: Tipp-Topp | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Pursuance Records

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

What to Wear in the Dark
Kate McGarry + Keith Ganz Ensemble
Alexis
Alexis Parsons
Future Memories
Mareike Wiening
Open World
Chad Lefkowitz-Brown and the Global Big Band
Fake Dudes
Magnet Animals
Within Us
Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge

Popular

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.