Shades of Jazz by Ron Burris
Ron Burris is a talented saxophonist who is based in Vallejo, California. His early background was in r&b including performing with Project Soul, a group that later had success as Con-Funk-Shun. After becoming inspired by Gene Ammons, he switched his focus to jazz. A few years ago Burris released his debut CD, Mr. Cool, and it has now been followed by Shades Of Jazz. For his set of six standards, a superior obscurity and four originals, Ron Burris is joined by guitarist Leo Cavanagh, pianist John Simon, bassist Stephen Webber, drummer George Smeltz, and percussionist Ron Carson. Throughout the program, which has plenty of variety, Burris shows that he is equally skilled on tenor, alto and soprano saxophones. He begins on tenor, swinging hard on John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.” Here as on most of the songs, Cavanagh and Simon also make strong statements while Webber, Smeltz and Carson provide stimulating support. Next is some excellent no-nonsense bebop playing on Kenny Burrell’s “Lyresto” (a fine song that is not performed that often) and an uptempo “Yardbird Suite” that really cooks and features Burris on alto. Bassist Webber displays both courage and creative fluency by soloing on the latter. The mood changes a bit on the saxophonist’s “Cruizzin With The Top Down,” a piece with a relaxed melody and effective laidback solos. “Let The Children Dance” is a happy party number with a calypso feel and a spirited vocal by Laurice McCoy Ozyuwah. It is followed by “Clouds,” superior easy-listening music with Burris on alto that has an upbeat melody with a bossa nova beat. Freddie Hubbard’s classic jazz waltz “Up Jumped Spring” is warmly embraced by Burris on soprano-sax and receives one of its most rewarding treatments in years. After he is featured on a warm version of “My One And Only Love,” Burris performs his catchy Tranish song “Mr. J.C.” It sounds like a piece that John Coltrane would have enjoyed stretching out on. The enjoyable CD concludes with a beautiful and picturesque version of the leader’s “Sunset.” Listening to Shades Of Jazz, it is not surprising to realize that it was on JazzWeek’s top 50 jazz chart for eight weeks. From bop to bossa, John Coltrane to Freddie Hubbard, it succeeds on every level and features Ron Burris and his musicians in top form. Shades Of Jazz, which is available from www.ronaldburrisjazz.com, is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys melodic modern jazz. Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian
Songs on CD:
1. Giant Steps * John Coltrane
2. Lyresto * Kenny Burrell
3. Yardbird Suite * Charlie Parker
4. Cruzzin with the Top down -Ron Burris
5. Let The Children Dance by Ron Burris
6. Clouds * D. Ferreirai
7. Up Jump Spring * Freddie Hubbard
8. My One & Only Love * Mellin, Wood
9. Mr. J.C. by Ron Burris
10. Sunset by Ron Burris
* cover song and composer
Vallejo CA born saxophonist Ron Burris started playing at an early age (4th grade) and continued playing through high school when he joined a band called Project Soul, this band later became super group
Ron’s early years were filled with the great R&B singers and groups of his day.
“I remember listening to Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and all of the Motown stars like the Temptations, Four Tops, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and Jr Walker and The All Stars plus James Brown and Maceo Parker”!
Ron received inspiration from his family as his sister Barbara (Bobbie) sang in the church choir and his mother would sing hymns daily around the house. “When I say hymns, I mean the slow meter hymns that were sung during the time of slavery”.
With a solid background in R&B and sprinkles of gospel, Ron went on to college to major in music at U.C Davis. He graduated with a B.A. in music and followed up with a teaching credential from Sonoma State University 1978.
With his teaching credential in tow Ron taught music in the public-school system for 10 years, while leading a jazz band that played in Vallejo and the surrounding cities including
It was at this time that he fell in love with jazz after hearing Gene Ammons. “I admired Gene”, whom he met and spoke with often when Gene played at the famed jazz club Keystone Korner in San Francisco. “I admired Gene Ammons because he had such a beautiful sound on the horn, especially the low notes, and he made everyone listening feel the music he was playing. Lastly, Gene was a wonderful person”!
Ron also admired and was inspired by other players like John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins for their technique, and Stanley Turrentine for his soulful bluesy style! Additionally, Ron was really moved by Cannonball Adderley for his articulation, technique and sound!
There are other younger players that Ron Burris appreciates and draws inspiration from like Vincent Herring and Eric Alexander. “They both have a fresh sound; one can hear the influences of the masters’ on their playing while also hearing their own unique styles!” Also, on Ron’s favorite’s list of modern-day players is trumpet master and educator Wynton Marsalis and Kirk Whalum.
During his 30’s Ron left music and pursued other things. “One could say I had a spiritual awakening”. Ron went back to school and received a master’s degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1991 and a PhD in church history in 2002 from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley CA.
However, being influenced by his mother and a noted Bay Area musician John Turk, Ron began playing music again with a passion. That passion culminates in a very cool fashion with the release of his debut self-produced CD, Mr. Cool!
A 9-tune set with 7 originals Mr. Cool display Ron’s excellent writing, arranging and production skills as well as his on defining sound, and playing tenor, alto and soprano saxophones his musical virtuosity!
Stay connected with Ron Burris and Mr. Cool at https://ronaldburrisjazz.com/
The “Mr. Cool”
jazz Compact Disc has arrived...
The original jazz standards by Saxophonist, Ronald Burris, will NOT disappoint!
The CD is available on line at:
iTunes and Amazon.
Songs on CD:
1. Mode for Hank
2. Song for Tanya
3. Ms. Lillian B.
4. Alto Samba
5. Mr. Cool
6. Mr. PC **
7. Blues for Carla
8. Ms. Lillian B. (vocal)
9. You Send Me **
The original jazz standards by Saxophonist, Ronald Burris, will NOT disappoint! The CD is available on line at:storecdbaby.com iTunes and Amazon. Steaming services:Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify.
Songs on CD:
1. Mode for Hank2. Song for Tanya3. Ms. Lillian B.4. Alto Samba5. Mr. Cool6. Mr. PC **7. Blues for Carla8. Ms. Lillian B. (vocal)9. You Send Me **
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