Mack Avenue Records will initiate its 2005 release schedule with saxophonist Ron Blake’s “Sonic Tonic,” produced by celebrated bassist Meshell Ndegeocello. The CD, due in stores on April 26, fuses the diversity of musical flavors that Blake has brought to his work with Christian McBride, Yerba Buena and Ndegeocello’s Spirit Music Sextet, as well as on his own critically acclaimed projects.
Among the musicians joining Blake on “Sonic Tonic” are bassist Christian McBride (who produced Blake’s Mack Avenue debut, “Lest We Forget,”) on five of the CD’s ten tracks and Terreon Gully, who plays with Blake in McBride’s band, on drums on one tune. Two more McBride sidemen also contribute to “Sonic Tonic” – Michael Cain on keyboards and Greg Hutchinson on drums. Blake’s Mack Avenue label-mate Sean Jones, joins in on flugelhorn for one song. Also on the CD are Reuben Rogers (Joshua Redman, Dianne Reeves) on acoustic and electric basses, Chris Dave (Mint Condition and Spirit Music Sextet) on drums, Gilmar Gomes (Angelique Kidjo) on percussion, Josh Roseman (Dave Holland, Don Byron) on trombone, Vincent Chancey (Cassandra Wilson, M-Base Collective) on French horn and Marcus Rojas (Wayne Shorter) on tuba.
“Sonic Tonic” is the first full CD produced by Grammy nominee Meshell Ndegeocello, who says, “Producing this record was an honor and a joy mainly because Ron is that rare combination of inheritor and innovator. His lyricism matches his power and his emotion matches his technique. Combining Ron's vision and creativity with great players like Christian, Ruben, Michael, Chris Dave and all the other cats created a healthy, challenging and good vibration to work in and I am so grateful for their trust and open mindedness. I think the music is worth any listener's time.”
Following the April release of “Sonic Tonic,” Mack Avenue’s release schedule for the remainder of the year includes an as-yet untitled release from French vocalist Ilona, trumpeter Sean Jones’ second release, “Gemini,” and a live session from vibist Terry Gibbs, as well as offerings from Brazilian guitarist Oscar Castro Neves and pianist Eugene Maslov.