Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ron Aprea Sextet - Remembering Blakey (CDBaby, 2013)

Hat tip to JazzWax where I read about this LP. Saxophonist Ron Aprea leads an excellent ensemble featuring Joe Magnarelli on trumpet, Jerry Weldon on tenor saxophone, Cecilia Coleman on piano, Tim Givens on bass and Vince Cherico on drums. The music of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers is certainly the inspiration for this album, but it is far from a stuffy tribute. The group uses his music as an inspiration for a fine album or hard bop, bebop and ballads. The opening tracks, “Flown the Coop” and “Minor Setback” set the pace of the album as they develop into sure-footed swingers a hint of swagger and bravado. The standard “My Foolish Heart” slows the pace to become a lush ballad and a tasteful solo bass spotlight for Givens. “Latino” comes out of the blocks hard with aggressive drumming driving the music forward. The band develops a strong and powerful beginning before Aprea branches out on a nice alto saxophone solo. A subtle mid-tempo swing ushers “In a Minor Funk” which develops a happy and breezy swing. Cherico gets another chance to demonstrate his talents on “Transition Blues” where his smashing drums give way to a set of scalding saxophone solos. “Andrea’s Delight” follows hot on it’s heels with a bright and strong opening giving way to a bop influenced alto solo, fast flurries of notes recalling Charlie Parker or Sonny Stitt leading the group through the equivalent of a white water rafting course. This was a really well performed album, that is frequently exciting. Fans of old-school hard bop shouldn’t pass it up. Ron Aprea Sextet - Remembering Blakey -

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