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Ronnie

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Album Review

Baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber is an alum of many bands since arriving in New York City in the mid-'60s, including stints with George Benson, Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton, and the Mingus Big Band, though the big-toned reed player has recorded sporadically as a leader. This is his fourth CD for Steeplechase and one of his best sessions, featuring pianist Helen Sung (who replaced Kenny Drew, Jr. after his departure), fellow Mingus Big Band sideman Boris Kozlov on bass, plus drummer Jonathan Blake. Cuber's approach to his instrument incorporates both the gruffness of Pepper Adams and the lyricism of Gerry Mulligan in a style that is comfortably his own. Six of the ten tracks are jazz compositions, including Scott LaFaro's superb yet rarely recorded "Gloria's Step," which also showcases Sung and Koslov along with the leader. Cuber's blustery yet loping take of Dave Brubeck's "The Duke" almost seems to sing, while the quartet negotiates two demanding bop vehicles (Clifford Brown's "Daahoud" and Charlie Parker's "Ah Leu Cha") with finesse. The heartfelt treatment of Michel Legrand's "Theme from Summer of '42" (also known as "The Summer Knows") and the buoyant, playful setting of Richard Rodgers' "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" bring new light to these familiar standards.

Biography

Born: 25 December 1941 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

A powerful baritonist in the tradition of Pepper Adams, Ronnie Cuber has been making excellent records for over 20 years. He was in Marshall Brown's Newport Youth Band at the 1959 Newport Jazz Festival and was featured with the groups of Slide Hampton (1962), Maynard Ferguson (1963-1965), and George Benson (1966-1967). After stints with Lionel Hampton (1968), Woody Herman's Orchestra (1969), and as a freelancer, he recorded a series of fine albums (both as a leader and as a sideman) for Xanadu and...
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Ronnie, Ronnie Cuber
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