Timeless-The Music Of Bob Acri
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It is hard to believe that at the tender age of 82, pianist/composer and arranger Bob Acri is debuting with his first full length Southport CD, as a leader. A fixture on the Chicago scene for 7 decades, Bob Acri attended the famed Austin High, an institution that created its fair share of remarkable "Chicago-schooled" musicians. At age 17, Acri had already stepped up from free-lancing in Chicago's many saloons to having one of the most prestigious musical jobs around - staff pianist with the ABC / NBC Network Orchestra. In his impressive career he once held court at Chicago's famed Pump Room and Mr. Kelly's working with people like Barbra Streisand, Shecky Greene, and Carmen McCrae.
Chicago born in 1918, pianist/composer Acri is a Chicago original. On this recording, he offers a collection of all original songs that span many forms of American song style, from the romantic ballad, to the bossa nova and the blues, with hints of swing and bebop. Acri lists the late great Bill Evans as one of his main musical champions. With sons Bob Acri, Jr. (drums and percussion) and Jim Acri (drums) the essence of a musical family can be felt and heard. Rounding out the ensemble is Ted Schmuldt (a long time ally) on guitar and Scott Mason on the acoustic bass.
"Tribute to Buddy" is a flashy up-tempo romp that swings and bops Chicago style. "Sleep Away" was released previously on the ABC label on track 12 (from Jamie and the Jays-Encore-ABC-592-1959). The Latin-tinged "Linda Rose" will make you dance with its hypnotic winding melody. "Lonely Lonely Girl" repeated with full ensemble, has the elegance of an Ellington tone poem. Bob's piano weaves between the melodic phrases like a mellow wind. "Bossa Nova Viejo" will prove to be the party stopper, another Latin track that builds into an intense frenzy, featuring both of Bob's sons, with Jim on set, and Bob, Jr. on conga and percussion.
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I plan to purchase more of his CDs later this week.
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