Adventures In The Modern Lounge, Ric Cunningham – I’m grinning ear-to-ear as I write this ‘cause I’m excited (I’ve also had a drink). Ric Cunningham is a current jazz musician who “gets it” when it comes to cocktail music. I’m listening to a record that was just recorded last year, yet evokes a mood I thought was just completely lost decades ago. Primarily a sax album, the jazz represented here also carries rhythmic undercurrents of mambo beats, 60’s pop back-up vocals, and melodic riffs positively engineered for cold martinis. I was stunned to discover that this album was Ric’s sole musical vision from concept to arrangement to finish. He’s a complete package. It’s hard to explain, but I think you will be reminded of 60’s Blake Edwards’ movie soundtracks & other things 60’s, yet be titillated with these little modern touches, some quite pronounced, that will remind you that you’re listening to something fresh. Noir, big band, 50’s jazz, cha-cha, even R&B make their presence known here. I’d given up looking for music like this still being produced, and I was wrong to do so ‘cause here it is! Picture postcard perfect to go with your next fun cocktail party, play this record during the 3rd round of tiki drinks or whiskey sours. Songs include Europa, Harlem Nocturne, Must Be Dreamin’.
Saxophonist Ric Cunningham's Adventures in the Modern Lounge is a tad on the soundscape side, but it's sufficiently textured to qualify as a breather from heavier fare. Many of the tracks sound like air conditioning feels on its highest speed—cool and frantic. Cunningham plays alto, tenor and a vintage Conn baritone sax, which can be heard on Les Amis. Most of the tracks, like Powerhouse, mash his reeds with electronica, creating a cunning collage. NaNa La ChaCha and Jazzed may not be heavy-duty stuff but they are fun. You'll find this at iTunes or here.
Adventures in the Modern Lounge
A retro vibe from Ric ‘Mr. Lounge’ Cunningham
by Suzanne Langlois
Martinis, not the sort that are a conceit of blue curacao and mango
syrup ... the real thing, crafted of excellent gin and an atomized whisper
of bone dry Vermouth. Cocktails on the patio, pointy shoes, pointy
brassieres and the Cha Cha Cha that’s what this clever album conjures
in my mind.
Mr. Cunningham has his musical tongue deeply implanted in his cheek
but his underlying taste in the selection of timeless melodies ( Harlem
Nocturne, Santana’s Europa ) is unmistakable . At first listening one
may tempted to file this well crafted, ‘saxophone in front’ offering as
smooth jazz. It has more meat than that.
On cut number six ‘Sapphire and Tonic’ (with extra lime) an original
tune by Cunningham, his use of the alto sax was reminiscent of Paul
Desmond. A very good choice.
I felt the whimsy I believe Mr. Cunningham intended. The album which
clearly has a unified beginning to end forward motion is lyrical without
being sappy. The effective use of loops and electric percussion positions
the album as something other than a Don Draper period piece.
I recommend Adventures in the Modern Lounge as a must have for your
home bar. It is the perfect mood music for your next get together. Keep
it ( spine out ) between your stainless cocktail shaker and your mono-