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Ronnie Burrage: In it

An underrated drummer who has been a versatile, creative, reliably swinging sideman to the likes of McCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins, Jaco Pastorius and a host of others, Ronnie Burrage steps out as drummer, scat singer and bandleader with In It (RB Music). Accompanied by Sid Simmons and Jason Shattill on piano, bassist Mike Boone and trumpeter John Swana, Burrage tackles three Monk tunes (“I Mean You,” “‘Round Midnight,” “Straight No Chaser”) and two Wayne Shorter compositions (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Pinocchio”) along with John Coltrane’s “Lonnie’s Lament,” Duke Ellington’s “Prelude to a Kiss” and Joe Henderson’s “Black Narcissus,” which he had previously recorded on his 2001 outing, Just Natural (WestWind).

Burrage delivers wordless vocals on each tune here in the same fearless spirit of the three scatmeisters to whom he dedicates the record-Betty Carter, Eddie Jefferson and Leon Thomas. Burrage also composed “In the Realm of Thought,” his dedication to Elvin Jones, and the bop-fueled title track, on which he scats a blue streak while swinging furiously on the kit.

Originally Published