He can create a limber feel out of the baritone when he wants to, though he can also make it sound gruff and monstrous.
RONNIE CUBER meets the BEETS BROTHERS: INFRA-RAE
The US baritone saxophone player Ronnie Cuber has recorded with the Beets Brothers at the Studio Smederij in Zeist (The Netherlands) May 2009. This album, entitled Ronnie Cuber meets The Beets Brothers is now available on the Maxanter label site ( Max CD 75967).
Cover of the Ronnie Cuber-Beets Brothers album: Infra-Rae ( photo courtesy: R. Dissel)
Ronnie Cuber is one of the last great baritone saxophone players of the generation that played in the last five decades with great names like Slide Hampton, Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman, Lonnie Smith, Eddie Palmieri and Lee Konitz and he is still going strong. The title tune, Infra-Rae and Line For Lyons refer to that period. Infra-Rae became known thanks to the version of Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers ( with an all-star line-up: Donald Byrd, trumpet; Hank Mobley, tenor sax; Horace Silver, piano; Doug Watkins, bass and Art Blakey, drums) recorded in May 1956; Line For Lyons, of course, remembers us to Gerry Mulligan, who made this composition to a hit in the 1950s.
Ronnie Cuber was born in Brooklyn, New York in December 1941 in a musical family as his mother was a pianist and his father played the accordion. His first recording was with the Newport Youth Band (May-June 1959) and with that band he performed at the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, Rhode island, on the 4th of July, 1959.
In a previous review of his SteepleChase album Ronnie I informed you about his career - I won't repeat on that ...... . Ronnie Cuber is a follower of Pepper Adams, the baritone saxophonist, that played in Mingus' bands and with trumpet player Donald Byrd up to the great Thad Jones - Mel Lewis Orchestra. Pepper Adams and Ronnie Cuber recorded once together in the Mingus band in January 1978 released on two Atlantic albums. On the album Infra-Rae three of the seven tracks are compositions by Ronnie Cuber: Chez Jose, Chillin' and Cubism. The latter was previous recorded in December 1991 by Ronnie for his album of the same name: Cubism. Ronnie Cuber. ( photo courtesy Allen Spat. Thanks to Roberta Arnold)
The Penguin Guide To Jazz Records describes his playing as: He gets a light, limber feel out of the baritone when he wants to, though he can also make it sound gruff and monstrous. So, if you like the sound of the bari, you should find yourself a copy of this album.
The Beets Brothers started as a family group, raised in a musicial family in Groenlo in the Achterhoek, a rural village in the eastern part of The Netherlands, where they became fascinated by the music of Oscar Peterson and Art Blakey.
Three boys: Marius, the eldest, who developed into one of the leading Dutch bass players, but also active as a record producer, was a regular member of the Houdini's before he started in the Rein De Graaff Trio and the Eric Ineke JazzXpress ( to list some); Alexander, saxophone player, but also founder of the Maxanter record label and artists manager and teacher at the Fontys Rock Academy in Tilburg and the youngest one, Peter Beets, a sought after pianist and accompanist who made some great recordings with his Peter Beets Trio ( + special guest Joe Cohn). Peter Beets, also the regular accompanist of Rita Reys, will be on tour later this month with the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw to South America and in December you'll have to travel to Novosibirsk and Tomsk (Siberia) to join him in a concert with his trio - a great place to be in winter ( I guess!).
The Beets Brothers' first recording was Charlie Parker's Au Privave made at the Doe-Jazz 81 day from the Doetinchemse Jazzvereniging. All three are now sought after musicians and play in various groups, but they still love to play together, as the Beets Brothers, when their busy schedules allows so.
Both Ronnie Cuber and the Beets Trio ( Peter Beets on piano, Marius Beets on bass and Eric Ineke on drums) ( with Alexander Beets (1968) on two tracks) offer us some great music in the best hard bop tradition.
Ronnie Cuber won't visit our country this year, what a pity, but he will give some concerts soon in Paris at the Duc des Lombards ( 15th - 16th of October), in Vienna (Austria) ( 19th of October) at the Porgy & Bess Jazz Club ( not to mixed up with the Porgy en (sic) Bess Jazz club in Terneuzen ( The Netherlands) where Ronnie played in 1994 with Nick Brignola and the Rein De Graaff Trio in its Baritone Explosions tour) and on the next day at the Kulturverein Oxymoron in Linz (Austria).
During the 1950s and 1960s the baritone saxophone was played by musicians like Pepper Adams, Gerry Mulligan, Serge Chaloff and Leo Parker - all giants on their instrument. Ronnie Cuber is one of those saxophone players that keeps this tradition alive. Last year Ronnie Cuber met the Beets Brothers, one of Hollands best groups to accompany him and now their latest album is available: Infra-Rae. The Keep Swinging blog enjoyed it and loves to share its review with you. If you love to keep informed, ask for its Keep Swinging newsletter
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