Jazz albums are born in a number of different ways. Some arrive with birth pangs after a trial-and-error search for just the right notes and perfect deliverance. Some burst out in a sudden and explosive improvisational brilliance with unblemished first takes. Then, there are those discs that come to fruition in their own time-frame, steeping in years of work that ultimately fulfills the creative vision of the artist. Saxophonist Tim Ries's new CD and his debut for Concord Jazz, The Rolling Stones Project, fits squarely into the latter category-a sprawling tour schedule with the Stones and the logistics of putting together such an ambitious project the main culprits here. Without a doubt, it's been worth the wait. This 11-song collection not only celebrates the iconic pop band but also illustrates how ripe the group's songs are for jazz renderings.
The CD features Ries breathing jazz life into the rock tunes. It also spotlights several guests who bring their support to the project. Included in the mix are vocalists Sheryl Crow, Lisa Fischer, Norah Jones, and Luciana Souza; jazz guitar icons Bill Frisell and John Scofield; keyboardist Larry Goldings; and Wayne Shorter's brilliant bass-drum team John Patitucci and Brian Blade . Most unexpectedly, the Project even features Rolling Stones members Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ron Wood, who also contributed the album cover art. Sessions were recorded in New York, Los Angeles, and Munich, Germany.
"I was shocked that this album came together the way it did," says Ries. "To get all these performers and to put a jazz touch on the Stones' songs, well, I've got to say that this project was a miracle."