Bob Ringwald gets down and dirty in this comedic romp and dubs in five instruments to back his vocals. I enjoyed the familiar spicy tunes, new risqué lyrics to others and even a couple by the great satirist, Tom Lehrer. A lot of fine piano is heard along the way. Two tunes without vocals are "Maple Leaf Rag" and "Dirtiest Boogie."
Jazz influences here reflect Ringwald's tenure as leader of the Fulton Street and Great Pacific bands. The comedy is inspired by his service with The Boondockers and as a solo lounge performer. If he reprises this CD, I hope he includes more by Lehrer and some Stan Freberg and Spike Jones goodies. The CD can be ordered from Mountain Gold Recording, P.O.Box 1016, Placerville, CA 95667 (916) 806-9551, www.ringwald.com.
The Palm Beach Society Orchestra played for a decade at the Grand Floridian Hotel in Orlando's Disney World. Band members are drummer Pat Doyle, cornetist Davy Jones, trombonist Harold Johnson, reedman Allan Vaché, pianist Bob Glendon, guitarist Bob Leary and bassist Charlie Silva. Michelle Amato shines on four very expressive vocals.
The late Rick Fay played in this band, wrote notes for the CD and is honored by a tribute, "Daddy Rick," by pianist Glendon. This bluesy gem is a strong highlight among the CD's familiar standards. My ears also were often caressed by Johnson's trombone and Leary's guitar. This CD is available from Arbors Records, 2189 Cleveland St., #225, Clearwater, FL 33765, (800) 299-1930, www.arborsjazz.com.
Minnesota's Barbary Coast band is always a kick to hear. Its emphasis on ensembles, innovative arrangements and multi-instrumental skills of members add new textures to any tunes it plays. Its CDs also offer an intelligent mix of tempos and musical moods. Familiar standards comprise the fare of the 2O05 CD, Memories.
Order this and other CDs from Barbary Coast Productions, 9649 Washburn Ave. So, Bloomington, MN 55431, (952) 888-5613, www.barbary-coast.com.
The gorgeous clarinet of Minnesotan Dick Ramberg is showcased effectively in his I Remember When CD. He has been with the Barbary Coast band and its predecessors for over 40 years and has played with the Hall Brothers, Doc Evans and the Upper Mississippi Jazz Band, which he led for awhile.
His like-minded cohorts on this outing are bassist Steve Pikal, drummer Tom Andrews, guitarist/banjoist Reuben Ristrom and pianist Tom Chepokas. Ramberg's tone is full and beautiful, and his solos lyrically inventive. All get in the groove nicely, and his musical empathy with Ristrom stands out.
I enjoyed everything here, from thoughtful ballads to up-tempo swingers and a little Latin touch. A bonus is a very informative eight-page booklet that explores Ramberg's career and enhances appreciation of the music. The CD can be obtained from Dick Ramberg, 6109 York Ave., Edina, MN 55410, (952) 922-1416, www.dickramberg.com.
It can only be a tribute to the affection and esteem in which Ralph Sutton was universally held that since his death in December 2001 there has been no diminution in the number of Sutton albums that continue to grace the lists of new releases. The one under review is the latest to appear and, from every aspect, it must be regarded as one of the best.
Some may be disappointed that there is no sexual connotation in the intriguing, though factual, title, but there is an even more mind-boggling fact concerning the actual recording which took place some five years after the pianist's death! Let me explain...
It is all due to the enthusiasm for Sutton's work by London solicitor Nickolas Campailla, himself a pianist who owns a Yamaha Disklavier, today's equivalent of the reproducing piano but which uses computer technology to capture every nuance of a performance on a special floppy disc. When replayed through the piano it is impossible to detect the playback from the original performance. When Sutton was touring the U.K. in 1994, Campailla approached him at the end of a concert and asked if he would accept a commission to make some private recordings on the Disklavier he kept in a bedroom at his London apartment. Sutton had already recorded on a Disklavier in Japan, was familiar with the concept and was pleased to accept. A few days later, accompanied by a few friends of both parties, Sutton sat down at the bedroom upright and proceeded to give a performance of great solo piano interspersed with verbal reminiscences. Sandwiches and drinks were served and a good time had by all, so much so that a repeat was undertaken the following year.
It is a tragedy that no one had thought to record the chat and stories, but all the music was preserved and many who have heard the floppies replayed felt the music deserved a wider audience. Campailla thought so, too, and approached recording engineer Dave Bennett to see if the music preserved on the computer discs could be transferred to CD. Simon Markson of Markson Pianos in London was sympathetic to the idea and opened his premises specially one Sunday so the discs could be played on his top-of-the-range Yamaha grand Disklavier and recorded. While setting up his strategic microphone placement, Bennett became aware of slight traffic noise from outside, and, somewhat in desperation, opted to settle for a dummy-head microphone placed inside the instrument.
The old adage that necessity is the mother of invention was vindicated then and there as this technique proved a winner, capturing the richness and sonority of the grand's characteristics to perfection. This, surely, is one of the best piano sounds on record.
The CD also captures Sutton in relaxed mood, ready to entertain his small but select audience and offering a program that contains some Sutton perennials but also a goodly selection of numbers that he didn't play too often. Ballads are well to the fore, including "Everything Happens to Me," "This Is All I Ask" and a medley of three of Duke Ellington's most melodic compositions. The hot stuff and stride is represented by oft-recorded favorites, but there is something new to be discovered in each of the performances.
This CD captures Sutton "sitting right" and is recommended to anyone with an interest in jazz piano. And if you have any lingering doubts about the floppy disc technology, then forget it. The mechanical jerkiness of the piano roll is a thing of the past. This is Ralph Sutton as you liked him best -- open-necked short-sleeved shirt, drink (albeit orange juice) close to hand, and a small gathering of friends calling out their requests. Need more be said?
At the moment, the CD is available only from Soliloquy Productions Limited at 14 Hungerford House, 22 Napier Place, London W14 8LY, U.K. At the time of writing, prices (including shipping and handling) are $29 airmail to the USA and £13 within UK. E-mail Nick.Campailla@yahoo.co.uk.