by Mike Greenblatt
Rise Up (Arbor Lane Music) by Washington D.C. tenor sax man and vocalist Scott Ramminger is wholly satisfying for a number of reasons. At only 32:41, its eight originals are perfect for this day and age of short attention spans. “I wrote these songs and I want people to listen to them so I figure maybe the answer is to put out smaller records. It’s kind of an experiment.” His previous albums are all longer and more complex. Here, you’ll find tasty little chunks of funk, shuffle, and swing in a post-bop (and post-pop) blender, all buoyed by his expressive tenor
tone, with its swoops and glides.
Neville Brothers/Hall & Oates guitarist Shane Theriot throws a New Orleans curveball into the mix, but seasoned with Philly soul. Bassist Paul Langosch anchors it all with the kind of professional aplomb one can only glean from playing with Tony Bennett for years. Keyboardist and Berklee graduate Wes Lanich is a rock guy, so his fills are like icing on a particularly delicious cake. But it’s
Ramminger’s show. He wrote it all, produced it all, and his honks are like an old-time version of Clarence Clemons, as if the late big man was from an earlier generation. It all adds up to a sparkling listen, and repeated listens bear more fruit for the ear.