“Killer” Ray Appleton – Naptown Legacy (CD)

“Killer” Ray Appleton – Naptown Legacy (CD) ()

In his final recorded statement, legendary drummer “Killer” Ray Appleton revisited the fertile Indianapolis music scene of his youth for “Naptown Legacy” on Hollistic MusicWorks. Tunes by eminent Indianpolitans Freddie Hubbard, Wes Montgomery and his brother Buddy (all of whom Ray was a drummer of choice for), J.J. Johnson and organist Melvin Rhyne are the frames for spirited, concise blowing by an all star cast of Ray’s friends including Grammy© award winning trumpeter Brian Lynch, guitarist Peter Bernstein, and alto sax ace Ian Hendrickson-Smith. But it’s Killer Ray’s peerless ride cymbal beat, driving and illuminating, that shows, on numbers like J.J Johnson’s “Fatback” and Wes Montgomery’s “Twisted Blues”, why he was considered by connoisseurs as one of the last of the truly swinging drummers of modern jazz’s classic era.

“You get the sense that this is Appleton's bread and butter, and highly present in the mix, he struts all over this record.…attention to detail is where Appleton shines. His splaying ride cymbal, his ease with accents and commentary, his hookup with conguero Little Johnny Rivero — these sorts of things set this music apart from its imitations. Could this be attributed to finely-honed touch and timing cultivated over decades, a sense of swing deeply embedded from a young age? Whatever it is, it reminds me how infectious the heralded recordings of a half century ago remain today.”  PATRICK JARENWATTANANON. National Public Radio

Personnel: Killer Ray Appleton, drums; Brian Lynch, trumpet; Peter Bernstein, guitar; Ian Hendrickson-Smith, alto sax; Todd Herbert, tenor sax; Rick Germanson, piano; Robert Sabin, bass, Little Johnny Rivero, congas.

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