Ron Blake – Lest We Forget

Ron Blake
Lest We Forget
(Mack Avenue – 2003)
by Paula Edelstein

Ron Blake’s sterling debut for Stix Hooper’s Mack Avenue Records, Lest We Forget, was well worth waiting for. It features Blake’s long-time collaborator, bassist Christian McBride, who also produced. In addition to Greg Hutcherson on drums, David Gilmore on electric/acoustic guitars, Rashawn Ross on trumpet, Bob Muller on triangle, Blake invited Hammond B3 specialist Joey DeFrancesco to help bring out every nuance of such great songs as “Mister Magic”, “More Today Than Yesterday” and “Lament.”

Blake captures and conveys the true ambience of the saxophone in several dimensions on “Making Love To You” and bathes your aural senses in his sounds of love. Christian McBride is sensational on these classic titles and really burns on “Mighty Burner” with Rashawn Ross doing the trumpet honors. J.J. Johnson’s “Lament” offers a profound listening experience with emotional layers added by DeFrancesco’s organ and Blake’s melodic saxophone artistry.

This is quiet, cool and emotional. Lest We Forget is not a tribute album but Blake’s consummate understanding and appreciation of several masters that have offered their sentiments over the years. His interpretation of songs by J.J. Johnson, Grover Washington, Jr., Stanley Turrentine and Charles Earland mirror what might have been, satisfy a new generation and remind us of their artistry.

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