BJUR 010 Randy Ingram - The Road Ahead (CD)

BJUR 010.jpg
BJUR 010.jpg

BJUR 010 Randy Ingram - The Road Ahead (CD)


Randy Ingram - piano & compositions
Matt Clohesy - bass
Jochen Rueckert - drums & cymbals
John Ellis - tenor saxophone

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"Randy Ingram is among the vanguard of young jazz pianists on the New York scene.  He plays with finesse, thoughtfulness and passion." –
Fred Hersch

The Road Ahead is the first recorded offering from pianist Randy Ingram, which will be released this fall on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records.  Ingram is an “incredible pianist"  (composer George Russell), composer and improviser with boundless talent, and the wisdom to use it to the listener’s benefit.  Many players have chops to spare; Ingram’s are laced with an expressive touch and a keen imagination.

Originally from Laguna Beach, CA, and a recipient of the 2007 ASCAP Young Jazz Composer's award, Ingram has received scholarships to the University of Southern California (where he apprenticed with Tierney Sutton, Joe LaBarbera and the great Billy Higgins), and the New England Conservatory, where he studied with his two mentors, Fred Hersch and Danilo Perez, and received his Masters.  Ingram moved to Brooklyn in the Fall of 2003 and has since become a much in demand sideman and a creative force on the scene, working with Ben Monder, Joel Frahm, Joe Locke, Mike Moreno, Kendrick Scott and many others.

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About The Road Ahead

"The Road Ahead" is my debut record; I feel like it represents the culmination of my time in NYC so far and my work as a sideperson.  But it's also a departure point for me, coinciding with my emergence as a bandleader, and hopefully an indication of how things will play out going forward.

I've always had a broad range of thoughts about what I wanted my own band and own music to sound like, and knew that the best way to really hone in on a vision would be to let things play out organically over time. It took a while for this record to come together, but I’m happy that things evolved the way they did.  I feel fortunate that I was able to find two very supportive trio-mates in Matt Clohesy and Jochen Rueckert that really seem to share my musical sensibilities.  When it came time to record, I knew from playing with him that John Ellis would be a perfect fit.  And the fact that we were basically neighbors at the time didn't hurt, either.


1) Rock Song #3:  Is somewhat of an attempt to combine my love of all things piano-rock in a jazz trio format:  there's a lot of sunny west coast in there, my usual McCartney influence tempered by a bit of Steely Dan and 1970's Michael Macdonald (especially on the bridge). I’ve head Mehldau do similar things to great effect in the past, and I wanted to showcase Jochen and Matt's groove.  the outro and drum solo (which Jochen kills!) is probably a result of what happens when zeppelin comes up on shuffle too often on one's Iphone, but I think we convey the best sense of what it means to rock out a bit.  As for the title, it's pure Rothko.

2) Dream Song -- is meant to evoke surrealism and the nocturnal side of NYC.  Musically speaking, i think you can hear the influence of many of my peers in town -- the writing of people like Mike Moreno, Matt Penman, Kendrick Scott,  and some of my deeper compositional influences like Kurt Rosenwinkel and Chris Cheek.

3) For No One:  I've always used this song as evidence that Paul McCartney was capable of lyrics that were just as direct and powerful as John Lennon's, and when I started thinking about a McCartney tune to play live with my trio, this one came to mind.  Lennon/McCartney compositions are almost clichés for jazz covers these days, but I
think when the song is really good and meaningful to you, then you can make it your own and really make it work, which is what I think we did here.  I used the original bass line from the bridge of the tune as an intro; just pretend my left hand and Matt's upright are really a rickenbacker!  I think as a trio we really capture the spirit of this tune - we keep a great ballad vibe but still a bit of energy underneath and I'm able to really get somewhere on my solo.

4) The Road Ahead:  Some songs just come to you.  I had found out one fateful late afternoon last fall that Wayne Shorter was having his 70th birthday celebration at Carnegie Hall that night...I had forgotten about it and didn't get tickets in advance, and predictably woke up the next morning regretting my decision not to go.  I started
to practice a bit and this song was just there, pretty much written in my sleep.
Wayne has always been pretty much my biggest influence compositionally (and especially harmonically), and i think this tune reflects that.  I feel like the melody lends itself to a certain sense of optimism (but weighty optimism), and feels like a bit of an anthem, so it makes a lot of sense to me that it is the musical representation of the phrase
"the road ahead" - my arrival on the scene as a bandleader and composer, and in a sense it serves as the soundtrack to the my journey going forward.

5) So In Love:  One of my all-time favorite Cole Porter tunes.  I think I started playing it after being inspired by some great Fred Hersch performances of it....I think we achieve a nice ambience as a trio on our rendition of it - staying true to the moodiness of the
lyrics but still infusing it with energy, and I like the way we interact together.  Matt's solo is particularly great and shows off all the things I love about his bass playing:  his ability to be lyrical and melodic and his commitment to a warm, rich, natural sound and above all, a stellar sense of groove.

6) Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most -- if you've heard the Betty Carter version of this, then you know how heavy of a song this is.  I actually discovered it in some obscure fakebook back in college and had always loved it.   I don't really know many other instrumental versions of it, but i think the tune is supremely beautiful and stands on it's own without lyrics (even though the lyrics are spot on). Jochen is just a superb brush player and he sets such a rich and warm sonic backdrop for allows me to really be lyrical and sing out with my right hand without worrying about filling up tons of

7) Round Trip -- I try and make it a point to include some Ornette Coleman (or Ornette-inspired) music on every gig I play.  There's something so important and vital about just getting in and truly improvising.

8) Hope -- was written between teaching piano lessons one Saturday back last fall.  I had lots of things on the brain - changing seasons (the northeast during fall is still kind of a wonderland for someone who grew up in southern california), that beautiful gospel/folk/americana side of 1970's Keith Jarrett, and above all, the promise of what was going to hopefully going to happen in November.......

9) Think of One -- I originally arranged this for a vocalist friend of mine back at New England Conservatory.  The lyrics for this song were a little predictably cheesy, so in an attempt to fight that I decided to see if we could make it modern -- put some different, starker harmonies in, keep the rhythms a little more broken and impressionistic, and see what happened.  It wound up working so well that I started playing it instrumentally.  It makes a great vehicle for improvisation, as we never quite settle into an outright swing
(Although it is there the whole time), and I'm really fond of John's solo on this one.