Pianist/bassist Ron Paley rejuvenates Big Band jazz with funk and hip-hop flavors on new album
July 26, 2011 (Toronto, Canada) Written by Robert Sutton. When the rapping commences, it becomes obvious that the old-school styles that pianist/bassist Ron Paley is resurrecting on Bring ‘Em Back! aren't just the glory days of Duke Ellington and Count Basie.
Paley's sense of nostalgia is rather sweeping, unifying various musical genres and injecting them with a Big Band beat. This is no mere retro exercise; hearing Sugarhill Gang-styled vintage hip-hop with a swing backdrop is startling, even revolutionary. Leave it to a longtime jazz vet to fling open the gates to a new kind of sound.
The title of the album will have many listeners believe that this is merely a flashback to the past, but what Paley actually does is return jazz to its progressive roots. It's a delicate and compelling balancing act, capturing the explosive energy and booming rhythms of ‘30s jazz while rejuvenating them for a contemporary audience.
On "Millennium Jump," Paley offers a comfortable introduction; it's exactly what one would expect from a Big Band record, brimming with soaring horns, tumbling drums, throbbing bass lines, and jamming piano. However, that's a century removed from "Jazz Is," a giddy statement on jazz's versatility with funky bass and hip-hop vocals. In fact, "Jazz Is" can actually work as a dance track in clubs - today's clubs, as opposed to ones in pre-WW II America.
Although experimental, Paley doesn't seem like he's toying with stylistic hybrids; he clearly loves all forms of music, and he wants to give them all a shot. On "Hot Rock Big Band," Paley combines early ‘80s hip-hop, jazz fusion, and progressive-rock synthesizers so effortlessly well that it'd make Herbie Hancock envious.
For more conservative fans there are decidedly by-the-book tracks such as "Stopping Time," an invigorating take on Dixieland jazz. Only a Big Band is big enough to contain the wildly colorful ideas in Paley's imagination.
More Information: http://www.ronpaley.com