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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - Standards and My Songs
Artist - Ron Jackson

For those unaware, coming out of the pandemic lockdown, distinctive and versatile jazz guitarist Ron Jackson re-emerges boldly with his latest solo album, Standards and My Songs, released on his own Roni Music label.

The album spotlights Jackson’s clean-burning, clean-toned guitar voice mostly in trio format with Willie Jones III and Ben Wolfe (drums and bass, respectively), and serves as a bookend sequel to his pre-pandemic 2019 outing, Standards and Other Songs, with a critical difference.

“It is a sequel,” Jackson states. “On the earlier album, I played standards, some pop songs and even a Drake song that I adapted to jazz. This one is standards and my songs. I took a couple of hits like soft rock tune Brandy and R&B tune Secret Garden by Quincy Jones and adapted them to jazz.”

1. Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)
2. Walk Fast
3. From Dusk To Dawn
4. For Pat
5. Moose The Mooche
6. This Nearly Was Mine
7. The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite)
8. Will You Still Be Mine
9. She Is Love
10. Roundabout
11. Time After Time

Opening on the super smooth Looking Glass ’70s hit Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) and the gently frenetic, post-bebop melodies of Walk Fast, those are seamlessly backed by the funky R&B jazz swing of the “Freddie Hubbard-inspired” tune From Dusk To Dawn, the low key, dulcet gossamer of For Pat (a homage to the late Pat Martino), the upbeat and perky Moose The Mooche (Charlie Parker), and then we get presented the melodically sublime standard, and which nods respectfully to the late Bucky Pizzarelli, This Nearly Was Mine.

Next up the six and seven-string jazz guitarist, composer, and educator brings us his sweepingly ornate rendition of Quincy Jones’ The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite) which is itself followed by the rambunctious, drum-led Will You Still Be Mine, the methodically rounded ebb and flow of She Is Love (co-written with his wife, Michelle Etwaroo), the album rounding out on the casual feistiness of Roundabout (featuring trombonist Clark Gayton), coming to a close on the gloriously sculptured elegance of the standard Time After Time.

Looking back at his work, Jackson, whose vast resumé makes him a respected and well-traveled veteran in the jazz universe, asserts: “I feel that it’s the best album I’ve done so far. I had to figure out a way to put the music together and there was a lot of pressure. I thought seriously about what tunes I wanted to put on there, a mixture in which half of it was my originals. I am very happy with the end result.”

Jackson also points out, “My goal would be to have other guitarists pick up the instrument and for the listener, to be more aware of it.”

This effort is shown on an album cover design that boldly states 7 STRING JAZZ GUITAR, which draws your attention to the low “A” string of the Eastman guitar that he’s holding.

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