Aug 7, 2019
If you think you haven’t heard the music of saxophonist Tim Ries, think again. Besides his years of touring with Maynard Ferguson and other stalwarts, plus eight CDs as leader or co-leader, he has held down the saxophone and keyboard chairs with the Rolling Stones for the past 21 years. Currently on tour with the Stones across America, he plays the lead on classics like “Miss You” to stadiums full of classic rock fans every night.
Given how busy he can be, it might not be a surprise that his latest solo work, Life Changes, was recorded 14 years ago, and just now seeing the light of day. Released on Ropeadope Records, the album features a who’s who of top players. Hard to believe that sessions with Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frisell, Larry Goldings, Grégoire Maret, James Genus and Scott Colley have gone unheard. As you’ll hear in our conversation, Tim waited to release it as his mother was very ill during the recording, and sadly passed soon after its completion, and then he found himself with competing recording projects.
Ries plays tenor and soprano sax, mixing his sound with solos from Maret on Chromatic Harmonica and Frisell on his signature guitar sounds. The classic “Monk’s Dream” becomes an album highlight when he matches Goldings’ keyboards and Frisell’s guitar note for note. Ries’ originals show his various influences and musical interests, moving from the Brazilian-influenced “For Elis” to the soulful “It’s Magic” to the straight-ahead sound of “Late Last Night.”
Podcast 693 is my conversation with Tim, as we discuss Life Changes, his work onstage with the Rolling Stones, and his upcoming musical projects (hint: he claims to have several hundred songs written and ready to record). Musical selections from Life Changes include the title reack, “Late Last Night” and “Bella’s Lullaby”, with a vocal cameo from his daughter. And for a special treat, there is an audience recording of “Miss You” from the Stones’ June 21st concert at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
Be sure to catch Tim’s sextet at the Jazz Standard August 6th, and his Rolling Stones Project with Bernard Fowler on August 7th.