While classically trained, Ron King has taken his brass chops to a variety of settings working with such artists as George Benson, Ricki Lee Jones, and Marvin Gaye, performing with the Tonight Show Orchestra as well as with Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and others, while doing studio work for films and the like. Currently he leads a quartet as well as a big band, and now has a new album with a variety of grooves and the like with him overdubbing on a variety of instruments while joined by Jeff Lorber and others on this.
The title track opens things up with its tuneful (if programmed) backing and lyrical trumpet along with wordless vocal backing. He switches to flugelhorn on "Luv Vibe" and displays impressive facility and invention. Support on this includes Jeff Lorber on piano (who solos), Bennett Brandeis on guitar and Preston Shepard on French Horn with a easy listening veneer. With full band and strings, "Celtic Horizons," sports lovely flugelhorn along with pianist Andy Langham's solo and Bob Sheppard's flute with the strings adding sweetening. "A Long Way Home," with King on trumpet, Bob Sheppard on tenor sax and Lenny Castro on congas is spicy, straight-ahead latin jazz (with the bass riff akin to that of Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca") with some of King's most exciting playing here as his trumpet blazes into the upper register followed by some very fervent tenor sax and then Langham in a highly charged manner before some hot percussion from drummer Gary Novak and Castro on congas on a standout performance. The closing "Peace and Love" takes us back to the smooth jazz feel of several selections with programmed rhythm and synthesized strings in support his lovely trumpet.
Ron King plays trumpet and flugelhorn with lyricism and invention although this album mixes a straight-ahead performance with others more in an smooth jazz vein, making for some wonderful playing and relaxing listening.
I received my review copy from a publicist. This review appeared in the March-April 2017 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 371).