Jazz Trio/Quartet Recordings on Southport Label
New Cool...Ron's first Southport Label, reissued by Sony, features Ryan Schultz, bass trumpet; Rusty Jones, drums; Marlene Roseberg, bass. "if he were based in NY, LA or Paris he'd be know the world'round"...Mark Keresman/New York critic.
Nearly Blue...features Eric Schneider tenor sax, Michael Arnopol bass, Rusty Jones, drums. "One of the handsomest albums to come out of Chicago"... Neil Tesser "Playboy Guide to Jazz."
Trio City...features Dave Pavkovic, drums; Tatsu Aoki, bass. WBEZ, NPR Top 20 list; and WGLT Top 25.
Trio City 2...features Dave Pavkovic, drums; Tatsu Aoki, bass. "A fine modern mainstream straight-ahead jazz pianist based in Chicago".... Critic Scott Janow."These folks really click together...a great trio!"...Richard Boucier, jazz review.com.
1. Get Ready!
2. Moonlight Samba
3. First Steps
4. Keep Your Eye On The Chicken
5 Say What?
6. Dedicated to Tommy
Seven Solo piano pieces performed by Ann Surace
Seven Short Performance Pieces
Audio/video track: Get Ready!
Eight Cool Piano Pieces (in production)
1. Latin Love 5. Ballad
2. Loss 6. Little Star
3. Dispersion 7. Reflection
4. Sunshine Rag 8. Two Step
Sunshine Rag (extended version in production)
Eight solo piano pieces performed by Ann Surace
Pinocchio Song Book
1, "There Was Once Upon A Time 7. "In The Land Of The Owls"
2. "Good Day Master Antonio" 8. "Instead Of A Thousand"
3. "I Am Pinocchio" 9. "I Am Determined"
4. "No More Schools" 10. "In My Opinion"
5. "How Are The Days..." 11. "I Promise You"
6. "Donkey Fever" 12. "Woe To The Boys"
duo piano audio track "I Am Determined" and "Donkey Fever" ... pianists--Dr. Ron and Ann Surace
Pinocchio Suite for 2 pianos, narrator, and singer
Duo pianists Ron and Ann Surace
1. "There Was Once Upon A Time" 8. "I Promise You"
2. Good Day Master Antonio" 9. Donkey Fever
3. "I Am Pinocchio" 10. "In My Opinion"
4. "I Am Determined" 11. "In The Land Of The Owls"
5. " No More Schools" 12. "Instead Of A Thousand"
6. "How Are The Days..." 13. The Blue Fairy
7. Pinocchios Dance 14. "Woe To The Boys"
"THE RIOT" for Duo Piano
IN FULL SWING JAZZ ORCHESTRA audio files
THE IN FULL SWING JAZZ ORCHESTRA was selected to participate in the First Class of the CORREDON INTERNATIONAL BIG BAND COMPETITION in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands.
IN FULL SWING presents stylistically-accurate Great American Big Band masterpiece performances featuring famous band personnel with regional and national reputations of excellence. A portion of our program is dedicated to contemporary big band arrangements.
IFS was awarded the "BEST OF THE BEST V" LACONI (Library Administrators Council of Northern Illinois) award for outstanding programs for adults. The group has performed for colleges, libraries, community schools, musical concert series, fund raiser events for worthy causes, (Cancer research, Parkinson disease, Heart, Cystic Fibrosis, etc.) weddings and dances. The group has raised over $600,000.00 for charities.
WHERE WE HAVE PERFORMED: The IFS orchestra has presented concerts at the McCormick Place Auditorium for the "Rotary International" convention, Northfield Center Auditorium, Lake Forest Summer music concert series, Black Orchid in Chicago, Skokie Theater, Fitzgeralds, Chateau Ritz, Patty Turner Center, Avalon Ballroom, Oakton Community college, and Chicago Cultural Center.
PERFORMANCE THEMES: A sample of themes for programming have been (with or without lecture comments): 1) Three Decades of "American Big Band Jazz 1920-1949; 2) Great American Big Band Composers - Stan Kenton, Duke Ellington, et al.; 3) Famous American Big Band Leaders -- Woody Herman, Artie Shaw, et.al.; 4) Benny Goodman Big Band hits; 5) Glen Miller Big Band hits; 6) Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Tommy Dorsey etc.
THE NEW COOL (SOUTHPORT)
Ron's first Southport Label which features Ryan Shultz on bass trumpet, Rusty Jones on drums, and Marlene Rosenberg on bass. The recording is a collection of 12 original compositions by Surace which were intentionally arranged for a traditional jazz trio with a bass trumpet feature. The CD was recorded in 1995 and reissued by Sony in 2007. The group is at its very best on this recording. All instruments partake equally within the quartet's structure. Mark Keresman/New York critic... "if he were based in NY. LA or Paris he'd be known the world'round. ..his music is free of cliches, and Surace and co. don't sound like they're trying to turn back the clock to some idealized past jazz era. His compositions have infectious melodies and swing with genial assurance- they're never mere frameworks for "blowing." (See reviews in this site.) Buy CD at CD Baby.com
Download on iTunes
NEARLY BLUE (SOUTHPORT)
Ron's second Southport jazz quartet "Nearly Blue" was released in 1999. The CD is a collection of 14 original jazz works by Surace. It also features Eric Schneider on tenor sax, Michael Arnopol bass and Rusty Jones drums. Jazz critic Neil Tesser claimed in "The Playboy Guide to Jazz" ... "Ron Surace can take credit for one of the handsomest albums to come out of Chicago in 1998...(his) effortless mastery of classic jazz piano...(see review on this site). This Cd is available at CD baby.com. Buy CD at CD Baby.com
Download on iTunes
Trio City was released in 2001 on the Southport label. Of the 14 selections, only one is an original. All others are jazz standards. The featured members of the group are Dave Pavkokic, drums and Tatsu Aoki, bass. The 2001 "Trio City" jazzs CD was placed on the National Public Radio Station WBEZ "Jazz Top 20 List - 2001" and in 2002 station WGLT placed it on the "Top 25 Jazz" for 2002. Buy CD at CD Baby.com
Download on iTunes
TRIO CITY TWO - THE RETURN OF THE TRIO
This 2004 Southport release has on it 13 standard jazz works and one original by Surace. The group consists of Dave Pavkovic on drums and Tatsu Aoki on bass. Reviewer Richard Boucier from jazzreview.com ..."These folks really click together and anticipate each other perfectly. That's part of what makes this unit a great trio." Critic Scott Yanow ...A fine modern mainstream straight-ahead jazz pianist based in Chicago....has his own fresh chord voicings ...fans of jazz piano trios will enjoy this date. Buy at CD Baby.com
Download on iTunes
“"Chicago pianist composer Surace...if he were based in NY, LA or Paris he"d be known the world "round. He plays and writes in the mainstream vein al la Bud Powell, Horace Parlan, Red Garland, Dave Brubeck - but free of "Classic" baggage. That's to say, his music is free of cliches, and Surace and Co. don't sound like they're trying to turn back the clock to some idealized past jazz era. His compositions have infectious melodies and swing with genial assurance. They're never mere frameworks for "blowing." His tunes average around the 5 minute mark'-there's no wasted or gratuitous playing. Everyone makes every note COUNT. Schneiders tenor is a joy; his sound comes out of the neglected tenor masters Hank Mobley and Don Byas. The band plays as a unit, a band-this isn't just a throw-together session. "Nearly Blue" is a mainstream jazz of the highest order, proof-positive that jaszz doesn't necessarily have to be "out" to be creative. Five and 1/2 stars, and well-worth seeking out."” - Mark Keresman, Jazz review
— Mark Keresman, jazz review
“"...Ron Surace can take credit for one of the handsomest albums to come out of Chicago in 1998. (Nearly Blue CD) Surace's effortless mastery of classic jazz piano...His right hand spins lilting treble lines that, like an adventurous kite, spring skyward but remain tied to their anchor..(his) left-hand chords: splendidly balanced, cleanly voiced clusters...l extend to the right hand for interludes of block-chord improvising that recall Errol Garner, Garner has certainly played a role in the development of Surace's piano conception, but so have a number of other piano giants, including Bill Evans, Bud Powell, and Dave Brubeck."” - Neil Tesser,, The playboy Guide to Jazz 1998
— Playboy Guide
“"You never know from where the next best-kept-secret is going to emerge. A veteran of many bands --Surace announced himself as a clever pianist and writer with "The New Cool" (1997)...he maximizes Eric Schneider's classic tenor sound without resorting to throwback formula, scoring with its idosyncratic structures and subtleties of style." "...his (Surace) music is so buoyant and frisky in borrowing from styles past, it leaves you powerless to resist it. It's difficult to remember a piano trio that defied expectation more breezily than the one teaming him with trumpeter Ryan Shultz, bassist Marlene Rosenberg and drummer Rusty Jones ("The New Cool CD"). And when Ryan Shultz's invaluable bass trumpet is added to the mix, Surace's coloristic streak flowers."” - Lloyd Sachs
— Chicago Sun Times
“"Surace and his quartet create many memorable moments on this delightful album ("New Cool" CD). An outstanding player, Surace's acoustic piano virtuosity and eloquence shine through as he creatively switches tempo and expresses his rich romanticism. Surace couldn't have chosen a better team for his broadly diverse, impressionistic rhythmic interplay...Surace's touch emotionally enriches each selection with grandeur." ” - Nancy Ann Lee
— Midwest Jazz
“"This CD collection ("Trio City 2; The Return of the Trio") is classic with each performance perfect in every way. Topnotch from beginning to end. For those who like entertaining trio jazz, this collection is perfect for the money, the private library, Public Library, and as a gift for a friend. Highly recommended."” - LEE PROSSER
— Jazz Review
“"CD Title: "Trio City" 2001. Ron Surace is one of the finest pianists in contemporary jazz, and his work on thie CD accompanied by his fellow musicians Tatsu Aoki on bass and Dave Pavkovic on drums makes this 14 song collection an outstanding entry fot the year 2001. This ia one flawless collection, each performance a perfect listening experience.Tatsu Aoki is at his finest on bass as is Dave Pavkovic on drums. Ron Surace's classic finger work on the keys is as always a great adventure in listening enjoyment amances create memorable sound tones and colors. Trio City if a fine, fine CD, filled to the brim with classic performances by three contemporary jazz greats. This is a five-star winner.” - Lee Prosser
“"Chicago pianist and educator Ron Surace makes a sharp change in direction from his two previous releases for the Southport label. His first CDs were devoted entirely to his own compositions, here, he goes with classic standards with just one original. With his rococo styling Surace finds his antecedents in Art Tatum and Erroll Garner. Among his contemporaries, he recalls the approach of longtime Washington D. C. mainstay Johnny Eaton as he gives each cut a thorough, thoughtful going over. One has to listen closely to catch the melody as he plays a snippet, then embellishes on what he jas just teased the listener with. "Everything I Have Is Yours" shows how the pianist can shift stylistic gears as he starts off without benefit of his two cohorts--at least, they can't be heard over Surace's runs and arpeggios--before sequeing into a more traditional piano trio approach slipping in between Tatsu Aoki's bass and Dave Pavkovic's on point rim shots. The debt to Garner is especially apparent on "I Only Have Eyes for You," especially in the right-hand strumming of the chords. Surace on occasion likes to engage in playful introductions camouflaging the rhythmic and harmonic invention that's to follow, such as on a waltzing "Suddenly." Surace makes a nod toward the blues on"Sweet Lorraine. This tune gets a more stripped-down-to-the-essentials rendition than other tunes on the play list, again with major participation by Aoki as he and the piano trade chords. If you're in need of a new jazz piano trio CD, and even if you're not, this one deserves highest consideration. Recommended. Kudos to Southport for continuing to record the best of what Chicago has to offer in the way of jazz artistry."” - Dave Nathan
— AMG Review
“"A fine modern mainstream straight-ahead jazz pianist based in Chicago. Ron Surace explores a dozen standards and two of his originals on this trio set. Surace, who is ably backed by the very versatile bassist Tatsu Aoki and drummer Dave Pavokoic, , has his own fresh chord voicings and is not shy to play songs at unexpected tempos (including starting and ending "Deed I Do" surprisingly slow) when he feels that it suits the piece. Overall, his playing is both conventional and personal, Surace's having developed his own sound and approach out of the tradition. He makes most of these standards even the overplayed ones such as "Caravan" and "Skylark," sound fresh, taking an occasional number as a solo showcase. Fans of jazz piano trios will enjoy this date." ” - Scott Yanow
— WEB JAZZ REVIEW OF "TRIO CITY TWO"
“"Another educator and inspired jazz talent is Chicago pianist Ron Surace. practicing in the trio-style of one time Chicagoan Nat King Cole, Surace is a gentle lyrical pianist. On "Trio City," he takes the listener on a pleasant journey through 13 standards and on original composition. Each track falls gracefully under his elegant treatment, but three selections are particularly refined. "Trio's" mystical treatment of "Star Eyes" is both refreshing and a stylistic departure from the remainder of this album. Surace runs a swinging refrain through"Speak Low," and he splices snappy blues chords into "Come Rain Or Come Shine." "Of great value to the leader is the able talent of "out" Bassist Tatsu Aoki and multi-dimensional drummer Dave Pavkovic. Though they play it straight, there is a descrete charge to this album, and it must stem from pairing these distinct artists."” - Michael Wojcik
— Illinois Entertainer: Editorial Archives
“"The straight ahead piano trio that Ron Surace brings to the forum keeps the swing tradition alive while imparting personal qualities. As Tatsu Aoki's soul-stirring bass introduces the group's exotic interpretation of "Caravan, you get the feeling that this familiar face is about to receive a facelift. Sure enough, drummer Dave Pavkovic adds a light syncopated texture that boldly ushers in Surace's unique impression of this classic piece with wire brushes. The pianist rebounds up and down with authority. . His furious tirade contrasts with the drummers 'light touch. Together, they create an exotic impression that swings hard. "Cabin in the Sky" swings gently with a subtle passion. Much of the session moves gently in like manner with walking bass, wallpaper drums, and a forceful pianist. Surace delivers a powerful statement on "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise," as his trio interprets this standard with a unique tempermen. This standard and several other trio interpretations give the session a hearty quality. "Sister Sadie" becomes as a solo piano conversation, steeped in the blues and tempered with a virtuostic hand, Surace gives this one a shot in the arm. "Until the Real Thing Comes Along" and "My Foolish Heart," on the other hand, get a warm comforting hand. Solo piano interprest these two pieces lovingly, and with passion. Similarly, "Here and Now" closes the session with a lone balladeer's heartfelt cries. He leaves his audience with a dream to build upon."” - Jim Santella
— WEB REVIEW OF TRIO CITY TWO: THE RETURN OF THE TRIO