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GRAMMY MUSEUM'S JANE ORTNER AWARD LUNCHEON
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The Richard Sorce Project
“Be careful how you enter Latin jazz. It could change your life.” ~Martin Espada~
Sometimes we all need to simply escape to a place we’ve never been. If we cannot get there physically, we can depart and arrive emotionally. “A Place I’ve Never Been,” by The Richard Sorce Project provides such a listening escape.
New York-based pianist/composer and educator Richard Sorce formed the Latin Jazz group, The Richard Sorce Project in 2012. I don’t find it just a coincidence that Richard’s last name Sorce is also an anagram for the word “score” because Richard Sorce scores big with his talent on piano, horn, string arrangements, vocals and percussion. “My primary focus is on composition, arranging and interpretation rather than virtuosic instrumental performance.” “A Place I’ve Never Been” has been receiving boundless airplay and reviews.
The band also consists of: Barry Weisenfield on Bass, percussion and vocals; Bobby Deitch on drums, percussion and vocals; Russ Defilippis on guitar; Amarildo Costa on percussion; Vinnie Cutro on trumpet; Mark Friedman on alto sax and flute; Erick Storckman on trombone; Bob Ferrel on trombone and Manuel Portillo on Guitar. Together, they comprise an eight-piece group consisting of a five-piece rhythm section, and a three-piece horn section. Richard’s wife Barbara Norris Sorce is also part of the band and sings a duet with her husband on the tune “When I’m With You.” Of the 14 tracks on this Brazilian- styled Latin jazz album, six have been and continue to be aired on several stations such as NPR, PJR and others.
Everyone who listens to this CD will have their favorites. “A Place I’ve Never Been” is a smooth tune to fully escape into. Accentuated by flute melody, the piano allows one to travel to their real or imaginary destiny. What a fitting title for the song and the CD! It embodies a peaceful, calming nocturne feel to it on one level, yet has the timbre that stimulates, invigorates and stirs the imagination.
“One More Lifetime,” begins like a slow and smooth cruise, but speeds off like a Maserati on the Pacific Coast Highway with the guitar and piano providing the fuel. “Celebracao,” has Richard Sorce, Barry Wiesenfield and Bobby Deitch performing the vocal ensemble. A Latin percussionist is judged not only by his/her energy level but by his/her knowledge and use of standard toques and variations in his improvisations and in support of the band. Each contributing percussionist on this album surpasses this standard.
It's not surprising that Richard notes one of his greatest influences as Claude Debussy. "Works of art make rules, rules do not make works of art." ~Claude Debussy~
Richard's other influences include: Antionio Carlos Jobim, Eliane Elias, George Benson and Villa Lobos.
Listening to all of the songs on “A Place I’ve Never Been” feels like a story being told from beginning to end with the track 2, “Until Forever” being not only a fitting title but the perfect conclusion although it isn’t the last song. If I had to choose, I’d say that this one is my favorite. The musical, travel destination has been concluded. The spiritual and emotional vacation is over but there is great news. I can start the CD over from the beginning, embarking on a completely new journey and once again go to “A Place I’ve Never Been.”
For jazz lovers who already have this CD, keep up! For those who do not, catch up! Richard has begun recording another CD of all original material set for a tentative release in June of 2016.
The Richard Sorce Project appears on EverJazz Records, distributed by Latin Cool Records, LLC.
Woodshed Jazz Magazine
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