Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico Reeds.....Ronnie Cuber the most distinctive & innovative baritone saxophonist- a modern day master.

Rico artist Ronnie Cuber is a strikingly individualistic baritone saxophonist, with a distinctively muscular sound and approach, as well as a talent for finding a personal route through the many styles of contempoary music. Be it with George Benson or Maynard Fergerson on through Steve Gadd, Eric Clapton, Eddie Palmeri and hundreds of others. He provides a support within the great baritone sound he gets,that's as often reflective as it is soulful.So many musicians forget about the sound of the baritone, Ronnie is THE benchmark of a beautiful, one of a kind sound. In this aspect, he stands alone. If you listen to the George Benson Cookbooks “66” “67” on Columbia, Which have already been released on CD, You'll find a early twenties baritone saxophone master. As you listen to this keep in mind that Benson and Cuber had this as a working band.That Benson band,from the day, was a working unit and a marvelous display of an an emerging Ronnie Cuber. As Cuber developed past his early years into a quintessential sideman for people as diverse as, Eddie Palmieri or Aretha Franklin and King Curtis. In his teens he was chosen to perform in Marshall Brown's Newport Youth Band at the 1959 Newport Jazz Festival.In 1962 Ronnie Cuber had recorded with Slide Hampton. He worked and recorded with Maynard Ferguson's band from 1963-1965. After stints with the orchestras of both Lionel Hampton and Woody Herman , Cuber augmented his New York session work by performing and recording with the great Latin bands of Eddie Palmieri, Charlie Palmieri, Mario Bauza. At the same time,Cuber was playing alongside and recording with R&B legend King Curtis and backing Aretha Franklin.Ronnie holds this association in high regard. He loved his friendship with King also.His killin' solos with Lee Konitz's Nonet from 1977-79 are historic as well as a study in Bari -sax-ology.. During that decade and the 1980s, Mr. Cuber also recorded with Mickey Tucker, Rein De Graaff, and Nick Brignola, and appeared with such artists as Andy and Jerry Gonzalez and vibraphone player Bobby Paunetto. Other leading artists with whom Mr. Cuber has performed include Eric Clapton, Steely Dan, the Eagles, Chaka Khan, Maynard Ferguson, Conrad Herwig, Boz Scaggs, Horace Silver, and Frank Zappa.From the 1990s to the present, Mr. Cuber has performed regularly with the Mingus Big Band and recorded several discs for Steeplechase and Fresh Sound. He created the Baritone Saxophone Band Tribute to Gerry Mulligan, and has spent summers touring with blues artist Dr. John, for whose band he has written numerous large horn section arrangements for tour and television performances. Mr. Cuber's summer 2000 tour found him opening for Dr. John at European jazz festivals with his quartet and his old friend, organist Lonnie Smith. This is someone that has something to offer every listener of all tastes and ranges musically. Cuber is a musicians musician, as well as one of the most gifted players ever. His gift is in his ability to function with somebody like Steve Gadd and then go record with Horace Silver, at the same time do a tour with Eric Clapton. If you pick up anything under Cuber's name, you're guaranteed a winner.Do yourself a favor, and check out everything he has done.His new C.D....Live At JazzFest Berlin one of the very best jazz releases of 2013. Bar none! Ronnie Cuber is one of the few musicians today, and that goes past just that I believe you can put on and listen from beginning to end, and be consistently enthralled without one moment of hesitation or impatience.His playing sums up sums up the brilliance of the probably the greatest modern day baritone saxophonist,and supreme creators.As an educator- I recommend Ronnie highly as I was a student of his in the mid 70's - he opened the door for me to a greater understanding of baritone saxophone playing as well as was an amazing person to hear in a teaching situation- he was extremely helpful and supportive.....Till next week check out Ronnie Cuber and keep it real....TIM PRICE

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