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  • Ralph Carney (2009)

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    Multi-instrumentalist Ralph Carney seems to have a love-hate relationship with his home town Akron, Ohio. Akron is where both B.F. Goodrich and Firestone were founded, and sometimes he attributes the direction of his career, and perhaps even his own character, to "the rubber dust in the air … fumes … tire stuff".

    The first of Ralph's many instruments was the five-string banjo, on which he played Bluegrass, country blues, and also The Beatles. Violin followed, then harmonica, and then, with his discovery of jazz, the saxophone. He listened to "Blue Note, Rahsaan, Coltrane, …"

    After a year of college in Kent, Ohio, Ralph relocated to New York, studying at Karl Berger's Creative Music Studio where he not only learned a lot about music but also absorbed practical advice such as "learn to do your own laundry".

    In the intervening quarter century, Ralph has taught himself to play instrument after instrument, including all the saxophones, flute, piccolo clarinet, slide clarinet, contrabass clarinet …. Perhaps running out of reeds and woodwinds to study, he also plays brass, notably trumpet. (This versatility may actually have saved him money in sideman wages: for example, on his recording "This Is! Ralph Carney", he's the only performer, overdubbing clarinet, panpipes, Jews harp, musical saw, keyboards, guitar, percussion, etc., and also singing.) He's also diversified his personal menagerie of instruments, selling his sopranino sax (but now he wants a replacement), retaining his curly soprano, and acquiring a baritone that might have belonged to his Ellingtonian namesake, Harry (no relation).

    Among the many with whom Ralph has shared the stage, or recorded, or both are the B-52s, Elvis Costello, and Marc Ribot, and notably Tom Waits, and thus the Oranj Symphonette.

    Ralph is a larger-life-character whom Wikipedia terms a "manic multi-instrumentalist". Further comment would be superfluous: just listen.

    Pick Artist Album Song Label
    # 1 Don Redman Jazz Humour (LP) It's a Great World after All (Stash)
    # 2 Gene Ammons The Gene Ammons Story: The 78 Era Rock-Roll (Prestige)
    # 3 Anthony Braxton Creative Orchestra Music 1978 (LP) Cut 3 (Side 1) (Arista)
    # 4 Duke Ellington and His Orchestra Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz (LP) Ko Ko (Smithsonian)
    # 5 Weather Report Weather Report Orange Lady (Columbia)
    # 6 John Coltrane Live at Birdland I Want to Talk about You (Impulse)
    # 7 Red Nichols and His Five Pennies Jazz Humour (LP) Goofus (Stash)
    # 8 Gene Ammons The Gene Ammons Story: The 78 Era Sock (Prestige)
    # 9 Coleman Hawkins Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz (LP) The Man I Love (Smithsonian)
    Book Ray Bradbury, "Something Wicked This Way Comes"
    Luxury Item A garlic press, or a white-noise generator
    Castaways by date
    Chris Amberger
    23 Jun
    Gerald Beckett
    01 Sep
    Buzz Brooks
    28 Apr
    Jarrett Cherner
    16 Jun
    Kev Choice
    30 Jun
    Anat Cohen
    28 Jul
    Natalie Cressman
    10 Feb
    Hershey Felder
    07 Apr
    Mitchell Feldman
    18 Aug
    Mike Galisatus
    03 Nov
    Aaron Germain
    06 Jan
    Robin Gregory
    17 Feb
    Tamir Hendelman
    13 Oct
    Kasey Knudsen
    17 Mar
    Matthew Montfort
    26 May
    Dan Montgomery
    06 Oct
    Andrea Motis
    21 Jul
    Ray Obiedo
    10 Mar
    Jayn Pettingill
    17 Nov
    John Pizzarelli
    25 Aug
    Sandi Poindexter
    24 Mar
    Don Randi
    20 Oct
    David Rogers
    24 Feb
    Eric Whittington
    29 Sep
    George Winston
    04 Aug
    Lizz Wright
    09 Jun
    Jason Yeager
    02 Jun