Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Tim Ries - The Rolling Stones Project -or- six degrees of Bill Charlap?

For those jazz fans out there playing six degrees of Bill Charlap (instead of Kevin Bacon) the new cd by saxophonist Tim Ries is going to be pretty handy. Rarely does an album come out that can be a true trump card in linking people you would never even think could have anything even remotely in common. - Oh, I should explain, Ries, who is a really talented and underrated saxophonist, working with folks like Maria Schneider, has since 1999 been the sax player with the Rolling Stones. His new album of Stones tunes, "The Rolling Stones Project" started out as a "simple" jazz album with the likes of Larry Goldings, Charlap, Brian Blade, Bill Frisell, Ben Monder, and John Patitucci, turned into a much bigger project, featuring Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Darryl Jones, Sheryl Crow and Norah Jones.

It's a pretty good record, if a bit mellow. More mellow and less rocking than I expected it would be, which may or may not be a good thing. Ries sounds very good, and there's some good jazz arrangements, but with all the star power, Ries might be overshadowed a bit at times. It's hard to tell sometimes who the spotlight is on. There's a funky John Scofield feature on Satisfaction, both jazz organ trio and rock versions of Honky Tonk Women, and a mellow Norah Jones feature on Wild Horses. It's a fun record, which a lot of jazz albums today aren't. Perhaps most importantly, it'll turn on more casual jazz fans to Tim's playing, and maybe some of his other records too.


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