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John Ricci | Holding Time

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Jazz: Jazz quartet Jazz: Mainstream Jazz Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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Holding Time

by John Ricci

Moody, sensitive and inspiring quartet jazz with a balance of hard swinging traditional elements and a modern compositional approach.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz quartet
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Mode Time
4:48 $0.99
2. Ballerina
8:46 $0.99
3. Here's That Rainy Day
7:29 $0.99
4. Holding Time
9:27 $0.99
5. Slow Tango
7:49 $0.99
6. Bounce Blues
10:56 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The first born American and youngest member of a musical family, John Ricci had an eclectic musical upbringing. His family comes out of an Italian and Argentine background, his mother having performed opera in the Teatro Colon in Argentina when she was only a teenager, brothers that could play or sing any music they heard and a father who also sang and enjoyed anything and everything conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Starting on piano at age 7, John added saxophone at age 11 and was already improvising with everything from Jobim to Beatles records soon after.

Continuing on to study music, John attended the exclusive jazz studies program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. There, he was mentored directly by world renown jazz pedagogue and saxophonist Jerry Coker. He also had the opportunity study closely with internationally recognized pianist-composer and former Jazz Messenger Donald Brown. With a new vision and quest to become a strong a communicator of the idiom as well as a performer, he was awarded a teaching assistantship at the Florida State University School of Music jazz studies and contemporary media program. In that time he performed with Blue Note recording artist trumpeter Marcus Printup, performed at Preservation Hall in New Orleans, received outstanding soloist awards at the 1994 and 1995 Mobile National Jazz Festival, won an outstanding performance in the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival, and won the combo division of the 1995 Down Beat Collegiate Music Awards.

He has since moved to Jacksonville Florida, having taught at the prestigious University of North Florida jazz program as a visiting professor assisting the saxophone teaching load for the legendary Bunky Green, recorded and arranged for Latin bassist and composer Angel Roman on the Mambo Blue CD Con Fuego, and recorded on violinist-singer composer Rebecca Zapen’s first CD release, Hummingbird. He was recently invited to perform with pianist Donald Brown in the Donald Brown Quintet (The Forces of Inspiration). He has also been directing and building a jazz program at Jacksonville University and performing regionally for festivals and jazz club bookings with his professional quartet for several years now.

John’s new CD Holding Time is a debut release of some of his own very inspired compositions and arrangements. The musicians accompanying him on this album are of the finest in the southeast. All grads from the award winning UNF Jazz Program that have since paved their own ways: pianist and composer Joshua Bowlus, bassist Billy Thornton and drummer Peter Miles (Miles can also be heard recording and touring for Marsalis Music guitarist-singer and composer Doug Wamble). This project has already been receiving some very high praise and critical acclaim. And in January 2009, John was named winner of the jazz song category of the 8th Annual Independent Music Awards with the opening track of the CD entitled "Mode Time".

Holding Time was recorded in a live studio setting with minimal processing and absolutely NO overdubbing to ensure a true and interactive performance. John’s sound, influences and style can be traced to such mentionable greats as Wayne Shorter, Branford Marsalis, Mark Turner, Joe Henderson, John Coltrane and Ben Webster. His compositions are a unique balance of sounds, framing the elements of traditional swing in a soulfully modern approach to harmony.



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Holding Time
John Ricci is one of the new voices of the saxophone that deserves much more recognition. Once you hear this CD, I’m sure you will agree. The music is very personal, intense, soulful,and swings. The compositions
are fresh and the band brings great passion to the music.
I’ve enjoyed working with john in my band for a number of years
and hope this CD will help establish him as a new talent in jazz.


This cd is great! I just got my copy last night and listened to it straight through - I couldn't put it down. This guy is a master of the tenor saxophone and is band is smokin'. The song Ballerina is one of the most beautiful ballads I've heard in a very long time. I highly recommend this album to anyone who loves jazz at its best!!


...will have even the most undemonstrative listener head bopping and toe tapping
Tenor saxophonist John Ricci lists Wayne Shorter, Branford Marsalis, Mark Turner, Joe Henderson, John Coltrane and Ben Webster as his biggest saxophone influences, and this impressive group of Jazz royalty is certainly to be found as elements in this young player's sound. Ricci studied with Jerry Coker and former Jazz Messenger Donald Brown, who he considers a mentor. He later taught at Florida State University and the University of North Florida as an assistant professor assisting Bunky Green, and is now the Director of Jazz Studies at Jacksonville University. The saxophonist/composer has played and recorded with people like Marcus Printup, Angel Roman and Rebecca Zapen, performs at festivals and clubs and has won numerous awards. "Holding Time" is Ricci's entertaining debut release and features four original compositions as well as two standards.

Recorded live with no overdubs, "Holding Time" showcases Ricci's impressive mastery of his horn and his well-schooled compositional ability. Backed by a trio of UNF Jazz Program grads: pianist Joshua Bowlus, bassist Billy Thornton and drummer Peter Miles, the overall feel is very traditional straight-ahead, but with modern harmonic touches. The quartet are obviously comfortable with each other and play with a joyous abandon that makes for enjoyable listening.

"Mode Time" opens things up swinging hard and showcases Ricci, sweet and melodic, even while burning (I especially love his unexpected "held" notes), over a rhythm section that charges ahead unstoppably. Bowlus also adds a savory solo on this fun tune. Proving he can write (and play!) the ballads as well. "Ballerina" is a lovely slow waltz with a memorable melodic theme. Pianist Bowlus is given a rewarding spotlight turn, and Ricci's sensitive work entirely avoid the maudlin cliches that often mar ballad work. Instead his lines rise and drift gracefully and are worth revisiting to cherish their intricacies. Meanwhile, the swinging version of the Van Huesen/Burke chestnut "Here's That Rainy Day" is one of the highlights, with a nice bass solo, solid drum work and some of Ricci's hottest playing.

The original title track shows Ricci taking the traditional and successfully bending it into a modern harmonic direction, while "Slow Tango" is a nod to the artist's Argentinean cultural roots that is sultry and shimmering. The album ends on a high note with the delightful Ben Webster tune, "Bounce Blues." Ricci kills on this tune that will have even the most undemonstrative listener head bopping and toe tapping. "Holding Time" is an impressive debut from a young saxophonist/composer whom I hope we hear much more from in the future.

John Barron - AllAboutJazz.com

Ricci is a convincing voice in the increasingly overcrowded world of jazz saxoph
Saxophonist/educator John Ricci comes out swinging for his debut recording Holding Time. The Jacksonville University Professor of Jazz Studies combines original compositions and arrangements of standards for an intriguing set of mainstream jazz.
The disc opens in vigorous fashion with the up-tempo “Mode Time,” a perfect minor key workout for Ricci's robust tenor tone. The saxophonist weaves together a tight-knit solo, heavy on thematic development. Pianist Joshua Bowlus follows Ricci with a sweltering solo turn. The mood is lightened somewhat on the floating waltz “Ballerina.” Here, Ricci is able to comfortably display his edgy, vibrato-laden phrasing, which straddles traditional swinging ideals and contemporary influences.

The relatively straight reading of “Here's That Rainy Day,” done as a quasi-samba, has accessible leanings and features a stand-out solo by bassist Billy Thornton. Ricci's full sweep of his horn's range, emphasizing his extensive bop vocabulary, is impressive.

The bouncy title track swings with a deep pocket courtesy of Thornton and drummer Peter Miles. The hard-swinging momentum sets up inspired solo turns by Bowlus and Ricci. The haunting lyricism of “Slow Tango” contrasts nicely with the down and dirty blues of Ben Webster's “Bounce Blues,” the session closer. The latter reveals the influence of not only the tune's composer, but of modern interpreters like Branford Marsalis.

Ricci is a convincing voice in the increasingly overcrowded world of jazz saxophone. His integrity and passion toward the advancement of his musical vision is evident throughout.