We recently caught up with saxophonist, composer/arranger and educator/clinician, Ron Aprea and spoke with him about recent activities and his current recording project—his personal John Lennon/Beatles tribute.
“All About Jazz: The last half of 2013 and the time so far in 2014 have been quite positive for you. Let me ask you first about Remembering Blakey. It received excellent reviews and media attention.
Ron Aprea: We got off to a great start with that project. The reviews were all good and it was also up for Grammy nominations in three categories—Best Jazz Album, Best New Artist and Best Jazz Arrangement for “Cherokee.” We had a good run and actually made it up to the final cut. The exposure was good for me. It did well as CD Baby keeps sending me checks and asking me for more CDs. There are 29 Five-Star reviews on my page there and many elsewhere.
AAJ: I also see that you’ve been performing regularly with your big band gig at Trumpets Jazz Club & Restaurant in New Jersey.
RA: Yes, with my vocalist—and wife—Angela. I’ve been doing Trumpets with Angela and my small group for years. One night we were hanging with the owners, Kristine and Enrico, at a barbecue at our house and they had no idea that I had a big band book—with Frank Foster‘s charts and mine -as well. So, I had him listen to some demo things I had. I really had no interest in doing that, since it’s a lot of work—and, as you know, not a lot of money. But, they kind of rekindled the big band flame that’s been smoldering around in there and I’m glad they did. Jimmy Young, who I’ve been playing with since the 60s and who knows all the great New Jersey Area players, has been helping out with the contracting for us. And, it’s been going great and we’re having fun.
AAJ: Who’s on the band?
RA: Cecelia Coleman’s playing piano, Jimmy Young’s playing drums, Bob Millikan is playing lead trumpet. Arthur Barron, who is a ridiculous trombone player. Eddie Xiques on baritone, Marty Fogel on tenor. Nathan Eklund, Dave Roberts, Justin Hernandez are the trumpets. Mark Friedman and a young monster on alto named Marc Schwartz. Marc studied with me through high school and got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Eastman Conservatory and he’s just tearing it up around New York. The band is a nucleus of players as most good players are busy. So, for example, if Bob Millikan is busy, another strong lead player will fill in.“