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).

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Pursuance Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

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 June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Vitamina D" CD/LP/Track Review Vitamina D
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "San José Suite" CD/LP/Track Review San José Suite
by Nigel Campbell
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Columbia Years 1968-1969" CD/LP/Track Review Columbia Years 1968-1969
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "Real Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Real Talk
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 20, 2016
Read "Days Are Not Days" CD/LP/Track Review Days Are Not Days
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "Right Where I Need to Be" CD/LP/Track Review Right Where I Need to Be
by Jim Olin
Published: June 6, 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!