Scott Ramminger : Rise Up Review
Blues saxophonist, vocalist, and songwriter Scott Ramminger is back with a new album titled, Rise Up. This recording is Ramminger’s fifth record since 2011, and he is forging new ground on this one, where his previous studio discs have been filled with horn sections and backing vocals, Rise Up features only five players. The more intimate approach gives us a new perspective of Ramminger’s musical style. The band for the recording date is Ramminger on vocals and tenor saxophone, Wes Lanich on piano and Hammond B3, Shane Theriot on guitar, Paul Langosch on upright bass, and Emre Kartari on drums. Ramminger has this to say about the new album, “I set out trying to make a record that had a slightly different sonic footprint, sort of a stripped-down, more acoustic vibe. I hired a fine jazz drummer and upright bass player. And at one point, with my producer hat on, I asked them to play less like we were at Blues Alley (a famous DC jazz club) and more like we were playing in a Brooklyn strip club in about 1960.” Ramminger does this through his eight original compositions on Rise Up.
“88 Reasons” opens with a spicy solo from Theriot over a bluesy honky-tonk feel driven by Lanich’s piano and supported by Dartari and Langosch. Ramminger’s smoky vocal sound is authentic and adds to the allure of the music. The band sounds terrific, the feel is in the pocket, and the playing is inspired. The lyrics are entertaining and tell a story. Lanich’s solo is fitting and musical. Ramminger has undoubtedly put together a band that is perfect for conveying his music with an endearing blues attitude, and a standout listen.
Ending the album is a gem of a tune titled “All Done.” Opening with a jazzy bass solo, Ramminger again shows his witty lyric style that makes this project so lively and fun. The blues and jazz feel of this song is excellent. Ramminger’s saxophone solo is filled with the rich heritage of the blues. That is one of the things that makes Ramminger so unique in the blues world, which he is a saxophone player. This is a fitting ending to eight well-crafted tunes.
Rise Up is evidence of Ramminger’s continued growth as a prolific blues artist. The album has many gems and a wide range of blues and jazz-influenced sounds. The smaller ensemble gives each player a chance to be heard, and the band as a whole is very cohesive. Rise Up if you are a blues fan and get this album NOW!
March 4, 2019