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MP3 Ron Surace - Trio City 2, The Return of The Trio

...this collection of tracks brings the classic fire of jazz trio into the musical realm of the 21st century --- Bradley Parker-Sparrow, Southport Records

14 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Traditional Jazz Combo, BLUES: Piano Blues

https://www.tradebit.com a review by Lee Prosser

This Cd collection is classic with each performance perfect in every way. Topnotch from beginning to end. There are fourteen songs in the collection. Among the many perfectly performed songs are found such standards as "Caravan,""Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams,""My Foolish Heart,""Cabin In The Sky," a highly memorable rendition of "Skylard," "Funkallero," and "Here and Now."

For those who like entertaining trio jazz, this collection is perfect for the home library, Public Library, and as a gift for a friend. Highly recommended.
Review from https://www.tradebit.com by E. J. Iannelli.

The title of this album, pianist Ron Surace''s fourth for Chicago-centric Southport Records, sounds like a bad B-movie, a connotation Surace acknowledges with a grin: the cover art features the words digitally imposed on a downtown cinema marquee. And though it avoids the easy cliches and stiff performances found in a lot of second-rate cinema, the album is a Hollywood sequel to the first "Trio City," released in late 2001, in more ways than one. Bassist Tatsu Aoki and drummer Dave Pavkovic not only re-join the bandleader, but they do so for another session of standards (save two original charts). To put it another way, having done well the first time around, Surace et al haven''t deemed it wise or necewssary to alter the formula.

Tackling straight-ahead standards for the second time might sit well with the Saturday night piano bar crowd, but it can be a recipe for disaster when dishing out the same fare to jazz listeners who have repeatedly heard these tunes deconstructed and reconstructed, demysitified and remystified. What a welcome relief, then that this trio gives such a fresh treatment to these familiar tunes.

Surace''s style, technically and expressively, is very similar to that of Bill Evans, though in the past many critics have made an equally strong case for Erroll Garner. "Image," on of the Surace originals, and "Until the Real Thing Comes Along" are particularly Evans-like in the sense that he juciciously plucks clusters of notes from a larger melodic pool on the fly. Sometimes he draws these clusters out for simple examination; sometimes he bundles them together in arpeggiated rolls and chordal flourishes. It''s neither minimalist nor impressionistic nor baroque; rather a seamless conflation of the three. Surace understands the art behind pause and hesitation (do did Sinatra and Monk; less gifted musicians tend toward calculated, stop-start, seasick motions), as he demonstrates on these two tracks as well as "I''m Beginning to See the Light,""Deed I Do" and "Cabin in the Sky." Like Brubeck, he also enjoys testing the elasticity of a phrase, often while mid-swing. Pavkovic''s brushwork on "Caravan" --most noticable during his solo -- is bell-clear and appropriately locomotive; Aoli"s bassline is wriggling, snakelike. Together the rhythmic pair lay down the winding track on which Bill Evans'' "Funkallero'' runs. Caught up in the vitality and coherence of these performances, it would be easy to overlook the fact that the sound quality on "Trio City" is utterly pristine.

Nitpicks? "Trio City 2" is as long as "Trio City." Seventy minutes. Concluding around "Sister Sadie would still give listeners more than enough to enjoy and digest. But this seems to be complaining about too much of a good thing --"good" in this case begin a criminal understatement.
Review from "https://www.tradebit.com by Richard Bourcier

You won''t find many references to Ron Surace within current jazz volumes but that isn''t important. The printed pages often omit outstanding players until they have gained a certain amount of popularity. Why are we not aware of this outstanding jazz performer? I''m at a loss to explain but, as a jazz journalist, I''m as guilty as anyone.

Ron Surace''s fourth CD for Southport Records arrived in my mailbox a couple of days ago. From the moment I played the first track, I knew that I''d have to learn more about this Chicago pianist and his sidemen. Here''s what I was able to dig up via the various search engines on the web. Surace is a jazz educator and performer who presently lives in the Chicago area (Evanston) and emerges from studies at several prestigious institutions including Oberlin, Cincinnati College and Northwestern. He studied with George Shearing at the latter. Ron Surace has played with a number of stellar big bands, Ray McKinley, Glen Miller Orchestra, Bob Crosby, Ralph Martiere, and Si Aentner among them.

Presently he appears with his own trio, quartet and his "In Full Swing Band." Ron''s bassist Tatsu Aoki and drummer Dave Pavkovic have worked together for a decade and with the Surace trio for five years. These folks really click together and anticipate each other perfectly. That''s part of what makes this unit a great trio.

Surace and his cohorts do great things with some time-worn standards. It''s been a long time since anyone did something differnt with "Until The Real Thing Comes Along," in fact, the last inspiring version was done in ''73 by the late Sandy Denny.

The trio goes a step further with Sammy Cahn''s 1937 tune. Sandy Denny''s version made the listner smile from ear to ear and so does the rendition on this CD. Another example is the trio''s treatment of the old chestnut "Deed I Do." They play with tempo and rhythms and virtually make the 1926 song sound new. Frankly, I''d rate this as the best version I''ve heard in my 55 years of record collecting.

Ron Surace is, in several reviews, compared to Bill Evans and Erroll Garner. He''s reminiscent of Garner in the unique use of his left hand. In my humble opinion, he is closer in many ways to the late Vince Guaraldi. Like Guaraldi, the pure joy of performance is always there. Listen to Surace''s own composition "Image." It illustrates my point perfectly. The trio is happy, comforatble and play very intelligent jazz.

This album gets top marks for originality. It''s very easy to like!
Review from "all-about-jazz".com by Jim Santella

Ron Surace: Trio City 2, The Return of The Trio

The straightahead piano trio that Ron Surace brings to the forum keeps the swing tradition alive while imparting a personal share of the music''s qualities.

As Tatsu Aoki''s soul-stirring bass introduces the group''s exotic interpretation of "Caravan," you get the feeling that this familiar face is about to receive a facelift. Sure enough, drummer Dave Pavkovic adds a light syncopated texture that boldly ushers in Surace''s unique impression of this classic piece with wire brushes. The pianist rebounds up and down with authority. His furious tirade contrasts with the drummer''s light touch. Together, they create an exotic impression that swings hard.

"Cabin in the Sky" swings gently with a subtle passion. Much of the session drifts gently in like manner, with walking bass, wallpaper drums, and a forceful pianist. Surace delivers a powerful statement on "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise," as his trio interprets this standard with a unique temperament. This standard and several other trio interpretations give the session a hearty quality. "Sister Sadie" beckons as a solo piano conversation, steeped in the blues and tempered with a virtuostic hand. Surace gives this one a shot in the arm. "Until the Real Thing Comes Along" and "My Foolish Heart," on the other hand, get a warm, comforting hand. Solo piano interprest these two pieces lovingly, and with passion. Similarly, "Here and Now" Closes the session with a lone balladeer''s heartfelt cries. The pianist, working alone leaves his audience with a dream to build upon.
Review by Scott Yanow
Trio City 2 - Ron Surace

A fine modern mainstream straight-ahead jazz pianist based in Chicago, Ron Surace explores a dozen standards and two of his originals on this trio set. Surace, who is ably backed by the very versatile bassist Tatsu Aoki and the drummer Dave Pavkovic, has his own fresh chord voicings and is not shy to play songs at unexpected tempos (including starting and ending "Deed I Do" suprisingly slow) when he feels that is suits the piece. Overall, his playing is both conventionsl and personal, Surace having developed his own sound and approach out of the tradition. He makes most of these standards, even the overplayed ones such as "Caravan" and "Skylark," sound fresh, taking an occasional number as a solo showcase. Fans of jazz piano trios will enjoy this date.
Southport release statement, Bradley Parker-Sparrow
Trio City 2 - Ron Surace

"To swing is to be Surace"

Chicago''s piano man returns by request with a follow up to his hightly successful CD from 2001, "Trio City," with "Trio City 2, The Return of The Trio." This is Mr. Surace''s 4th Southport Cd, and the collection of tracks brings the classic fire of jazz trio into the musical realm of the 21st centruy.

The evolution of the modern jazz player is laced in the dexterity that Surace commends and displays. Wide block chords mesh with romantic melodic lines, dissonance skirts a dance with harmony, and what we hear is what we see, nine feet of piano perfection. Check out Surace the composer on track 4 "Image." His fingers trace the heart of an internal melody. Hear the elliptical melody within "Softly In A Morning Sunrise." To Swing is to be Surace.

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