Tenor saxophonist Ray Blue enjoys his WORK, creating a straight-ahead jazz set filled with warm melodies.
A Well-Balanced Program Of Originals, Standards And Tunes By Nat Adderley, Jimmy Smith And George Coleman
The New York based tenor saxophonist and MFM member Ray Blue, who has a deep tone and a melodic style, is featured on WORK, a set of accessible yet quietly creative music. The program mixes together three of his originals with surprising versions of standards and lesser known but superior jazz songs. He and Randy Klein, head of Jazzheads Music Group, worked diligently to achieve the appealing Old School feel and sound that Blue’s listeners want to hear.
Blue teams up with three pianists (Sharp Radway, Kirk Lightsey and Benito Gonzalez), guitarist Jeff Barone, bassist Essiet Okon Essiet, drummer Steve Johns and, on three songs apiece, the rambunctious trombonist Ron Wilkins and percussionist Neil Clark. Starting with the exuberant “Work,” the program includes such surprises as an uptempo transformation of “Lift Every Voice And Sing,” two versions of “That’s All” (including a duet with pianist Lightsey), a playful rendition of “Don’t Know Why,” and a cooking “Everything Happens To Me” which is normally taken as a slow ballad. Blue, displaying a large tone that almost sounds like a baritone in spots, is heard at his best on his original ballad “My Friend And I Took A Walk” and “Our Day Will Come” which benefits from a shuffle rhythm. Trombonist Wilkins is quite boisterous on Nat Adderley’s soulful “Sweet Emma,” the Jimmy Smith minor blues “Mellow Mood,” and George Coleman’s “Amsterdam After Dark.” Another highpoint is Blue’s “Attitude” which, after an energized and surprising melody, becomes a hot swinger that features the composer.
Ray Blue has been an important saxophonist for the past 20 years, leading his own CDs on a regular basis since 2001. Among those who he has worked with through the years have been John Gilmore, Art Davis, Ted Curson, Benny Powell, Eddie Henderson, Steve Turre, Wycliff Gordon, Bernard Purdie, Harold Mabern, Kirk Lightsey and the Sun Ra Arkestra. The saxophonist, who has appeared at many international jazz festivals, has also been an influential educator and is the founder of Cross-Cultural Connection, Inc. a non-profit organization that promotes jazz culture, performance and education.
WORK is one of Ray Blue’s most enjoyable outings to date, a melodic set that will appeal to a large audience, especially those who enjoy the Old School swinging jazz style and sound.
RAY BLUE QUINTET:
Ray Blue – Saxophone
Sharp Radway – Piano
Santi DiBriano – Bass
Alvester Garnett – Drums
Neil Clarke – Percussion
As always this monthly MFM Public Musicians Forum is run by Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi (President) and legendary jazz man Billy Harper (Board member). This forum will feature topics on a variety of musician and music business related subjects of interest to our members and non members.
ALL musicians of ALL genres are invited to attend, including music educators, DJ’s, Hip Hop artists, music advocates, Union people, #UnityInTheMusicCommunity.
1. Guest speaker musician,band leader and educator Val Kinzler.
She will speak about her “humble” beginnings, the struggle to earn a living as a teaching artist, performer, songwriter while raising her son and will address the importance of securing a support network that allows creative artists to evolve and maintain their skills.
Speaking about the ins and outs as a producer, conceptualist, booker and host of events. And sharing her experience as a mediator in the midst of high stress, conflictual situations dealing with fellow artists and band mates and serendipitous meetings of the mind with some well known greats she’s been fortunate to meet and collaborate with.
She also has a band that still plays live and records and worked as a prevention specialist/counselor for at risk youth teaching songwriting as a positive alternative at the NYC Department Of Education.
Furthermore, she also wants to talk about her upcoming NYC Women Who Rock Festival in March which is in collaboration with New Century ENTERTAINMENT’s Founder Michael McHugh who was the speaker at our last forum.
2. Adam Reifsteck will report about his forthcoming MFM SPEAKS OUT podcast
3. Roger Blanc will speak about the California AB 5 Law and its (negative) impact on freelancing musicians (called independen contractors by Labor Law),
4. Ken Hatfield will speak about and discuss the importance of meta data like the ISRC code.