Live! Songbook Watch Party with Dominick Farinacci

Songbook Watch Party with Host Dominick Farinacci


13

Ray Blue: Work

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
New York-based and bred, tenor saxophonist Ray Blue is no novice but a veteran player who has not received the accolades he so deserves. Perhaps after laying down and documenting an incredible volume of music on Work, the spotlight will shine a little brighter on this unheralded player. A composer and educator, as well as one of the most in-demand musicians in New York, Blue is a soulful performer, a full-throated sax man with a fluid and lyrical style which makes his sound unique.

On this superb piece of work, Blue draws from the songbooks of such giants as Nat Adderley, George Coleman, Gene de Paul and Matt Dennis among others, crafting a repertoire of creative standards and novel arrangements of lesser-known jazz covers, as well as including three originals, in a hefty thirteen-track package of pure joy.

The leader assembled quite a cast of characters to help him form the swing and swagger this album enjoys. Performing with a core quintet which includes Sharp Radway on piano, Jeff Barone on guitar, Essiet Okon Essiet on bass and Steve Johns on drums, he also uses two other players on piano, one more on bass, Ron Wilkins on trombone and Neil Clark on percussion.

The "work" begins on the percussive title track which sets the stage for what is to unfurl on the next few songs, all keepers. The brief up-tempo "Lift Every Voice and Sing," is followed by the soft ballad "My Friend and I Took A Walk," only to be eclipsed by Blue's treatment of the Bob Haynes classic "That's All"; incidentally, there is another version of the tune where Blue does a duo with pianist Kirk Lightsey as the final number. It all gets better on the Jimmy Smith standard "Mellow Mood" where, naturally, there is nothing at all mellow about it; it is a burner, showcasing the leader, the pianist and Wilkins on a high-pitched trombone.

Coleman's standard "Amsterdam After Dark," another highlight of the set, features Blue's chops on the sax coming through in stylish fashion. The pop favorite "Teach Me Tonight," is well-respected here, with the leader and band following the melody to the tee for a very nice version. Another "must hear" tune on the list is the immortal "Our Day Will Come," performed this time in a faster livelier tempo, giving the Mort Garson song a different spin.

Blue succeeds in presenting an album well worth the wait on Work, a collection of infectious sounds full of warmth, fire and funk at times, all leading to an enjoyable musical journey that is quite a piece of "work," as stated many times "just old school swingin' jazz."

Track Listing

Work; Lift Every Voice and Sing; My Friend and I Took a Walk; Sweet Emma; That's All; Mellow Mood; Amsterdam After Dark; Teach Me Tonight; Don't know Why; Our Day Will Come; Everything Happens to Me; Attitude; That's All (Duo).

Personnel

Ray Blue: saxophone; Sharp Radway: piano; Jeff Barone: guitar; Essiet Essiet: bass, acoustic; Steve Johns: drums; Kirk Lightsey: piano; Benito Gonzalez: piano; Ron Wilkins: trombone; Belden Bullock: bass; Neil Clarke: percussion.

Ray Blue

Album information

Title: Work | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Jazzheads

Watch

Tags

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and through our retail affiliations you'll support us in the process.


MUSICSTACK

Rare vinyl LPs and CDs from over 1,000 independent sellers

AMAZON

CDs, Vinyl, Blu-Ray DVDS, Prime membership, Alexa, SONOS and more

HD TRACKS

Specializing in high resolution and CD-quality downloads

CD UNIVERSE

Specializing in music, movies and video games

REVERB

Marketplace for new, used, and vintage instruments and gear

More

Read Warmer Than Blood
Warmer Than Blood
Chris Montague
Read Perspectival
Perspectival
Sam Gill's Scattered
Read Pinball
Pinball
Pinball
Read Music from the Early 21st Century
Music from the Early 21st Century
Bobby Previte, Jamie Saft and Nels Cline
Read lena
lena
Anna Högberg Attack
Read Patchouli Blue
Patchouli Blue
Bohren & der Club of Gore
Read Codes/Myths
Codes/Myths
Rempis/Rosaly Duo
Read Chamber Works
Chamber Works
Luiz Henrique Yudo & Apartment House