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Sonic Tonic [CD]

€20.00 (You save €8.00)
SKU: MAC 1020
0.12 KGS


    Product Description

    Saxophonist Ron Blake's career has seen him work in many different contexts including membership of bands led by Roy Haynes, Art Farmer and Christian McBride. His most recent association, however, has been with acclaimed bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, who, as producer of this new CD, adds a very distinctive dimension to the music. The result is an outstanding amalgamation of funk, Latin, Caribbean rhythms with a contemporary jazz sound. Also featured is Christian McBride on bass, Michael Cain on keyboards, David Gilmore on guitar and the high-powered drums of Chris Dave and Terreon Gully.

    A limited edition bonus CD is also included, which contains remixes by Carlos Mena, Dj Spinna, Jahi Sundance, Transdub Massiv and the excellent Osunlade "Yoruba Soul Samba Mix", which was released on 12" vinyl by Freestyle records.

    Ron Blake - (tenor & soprano saxophones, flute), Josh Roseman - (trombone), Sean Jones - (flugelhorn, 8), Vincent Chancey - (french horn, 4), Marcus Rojas - (tuba, 4), Michael Cain - (piano, electric piano, keyboards), David Gilmore - (guitar), Christian McBride - (bass), Rueben Rogers - (bass, electric bass), Chris Dave, Terreon Gully - (drums), Greg Hutchinson - (drums, 10), Gilmar Gomes - (percussion), Pedro Martinez - (congas, 11)


    BBC Review

    In this limited edition double CD (produced by singer/bassist Meshell Ndegeocello), saxophonist Ron Blake's borrowing from other genres doesn't detract from his ability to play some solidly improvised and original jazz. Even when falling for the 'nu' jazz trend of hooking up with DJs, he keeps things separate. He makes a jazz album first (disc 1), and then allows separate ground for the turntablists to remix five of the original tracks (disc 2).

    Blake immediately steps on the accelerator (aided by Chris Dave's solid drumming and Christian McBride's bass line) with the Coltranean "Invocation".The sudden shift from tenor to soprano is somehow reminiscent of Wayne Shorter's Native Dancer. A rearranged version of the same track closes the album ("Invocation - Dance of Fire"), but by favouring flute over soprano, Blake returns a less intense, yet far dreamier catch.

    It's hard not to be captivated by the way Blake renders the Ellingtonian "Dance of Passion" (the original by Johnny Griffin is nicely adorned with African quotations); or by his own, Caribbean flavoured "Tom Blake (Revisited)".

    If with "Shades of Brown" one perhaps hears distant echoes of the writing of early Joshua Redman or Roy Hargrove, the wayBlake delivers the soulful pearl "Pure Imagination" brings John Coltrane back into the picture. "Pissarro's Floor" immediately follows and smoothly does it; with shivering, unbounded drumming and spot-on Fender Rhodes piano (from the wise hands of Michael Cain) a perfect carpet to Blake's robustly expressive tenor monologue.

    Those are just few bites from Blake's articulate writing (most of the pieces carry his signature). Sonic Tonic is a preciously talented child, a restless creature whose vitality is by far its special quality. Unquestionably a lot is owed to a priceless ensemble. Blake's superb tone is a refined, expressive, muscular voice; an indispensable part of a captivating musical tale. Brilliant. --Lara Bellini

    Release date:
    18 Dec. 2008

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