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Work by Ray Blue

WORK

Tenor saxophonist Ray Blue enjoys his work, creating a straight-forward jazz set filled with warm melodies. 

WORK reached #7 on Jazzweek Chart in November 2019.

Listed on Notable Releases on 2019 by W. Royal Stokes, JJA

WORK is available on Amazon, iTunes, Believe Digital, Spotify and more.

Old School Swinging Jazz

The New York based tenor saxophonist 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 Gonzales), guitarist Jeff Barone, bassist Essiet Ikon Essiet, drummer Steve Johns, 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, Benny Powell, Eddie Henderson, the Charlie Persip Super Band, Wycliffe Gordon, Ted Curson, 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. 

Credits

RAY'S PERSONAL COMMENT

 

The musicians on this project share a special chemistry and musical vision. Enjoy the WORK.

 

TRACK LISTING

1.WORK

Ray Blue. Ray Blue Music Publishing

2. LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING

James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson

3. MY FRIEND AND I TOOK A WALK

Ray Blue. Ray Blue Music Publishing

4. SWEET EMMA

Nat Adderley. UPAM Music Company

5.THAT'S ALL

Bob Haynes and Alan Brandt. Warner-Tamerlane Publishing. 

6. MELLOW MOOD

Jimmy Smith. Emdy Music Publishing Co. LLC

7. AMSTERDAM AFTER DARK

George Coleman. Coles Music Publisher

8. TEACH ME TONIGHT

Gene de Paul. Cahn Music Co./The Hub Music, Imagem Music LLC

9. DON'T KNOW WHY

Jesse Harris. Beanly Songs/Sony/ATV Songs LLC

10. OUR DAY WILL COME

Mort Garson and Bob Hilliard. Bourne Co and Universal Music Corp. 

11. EVERYTHING HAPPENS TO ME

Matt Dennis and Tom Adair. Music Sales Corp. 

12. ATTITUDE

Ray Blue. Ray Blue Music Publishing

13. THAT'S ALL (Duo)

Bob Haynes and Alan Brandt. Warner-Tamelane Publishing

 

MUSICIANS

Ray Blue – Saxophone

Sharp Radway – Piano

Jeff Barone – Guitar

Essiet Okon Essiet – Bass

Steve Johns - Drums

Kirk Lightsey - Piano (Trks 8,13)

Benito Gonzales - Piano (Trks 3,5)

Ron Wilkins - Trombone (Trks 4,6,7)

Belden Bullock - Bass (Trk 8)

Neil Clark - Percussion (Trks 1,6,9)

Album info

Catalog JH1235

UPC 009818123528

Release Date: October 12, 2019

Label: Jazzheads - www.jazzheads.com

Recorded at Trading Eights, Teaneck, NJ

​Recording Engineer: Chris Sulit

Samarai Hotel, Queens, NY

Recording Engineer: Dave Stroller

Mixing Engineer: Dave Kowolski

Mastering Engineer: Duff Harris

Produced by: Randy Klein and Ray Blue

​Art Direction and Design: Janis Wilkins

Cover Photography: Gulnara Khamatova

Studio Photography: James Brooks

Ray Blue endorses: GB Saxophones and

Vandoren mouthpieces and reeds

Thank you to: Randy Klein, Houston Person, Jeff Barone, James Brooks, Janis Wilkins, Riitta Blue and Phil Miller.

Album links

Listen to WORK by Ray Blue

Listen to WORK by Ray Blue
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