Curt Ramm is one of the preeminent horn players in rock and roll. As well as being an in-demand studio session player, Curt’s playing has kept him very busy over the years with electrifying live performances throughout the US, Europe and Japan. Some of his recording and performance credits include Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Bruce Springsteen Sessions Band, Nile Rodgers and CHIC, They Might Be Giants, Radiohead, The Levon Helm Band, Glen Hansard and Little Steven.
Touring has for many years been a mainstay of Curt’s musical career, but road work came to a screeching halt in the Spring of 2020. Curt recalls, “the Damn-Panic was in full swing, so I had to face the fact that, for the foreseeable future, I wouldn’t be playing live shows, and definitely not touring.”
Around that time, he was working with his long time friend and Rhode Island Music Hall of Famer, producer, musician, Ray Gennari (Akae Beka of Midnite, Turbulence, Protoje, Roomful Of Blues, The Temptations, Lustre Kings Productions) to orchestrate and play instrumental versions of songs by Clatta Bumboo (aka Sheldon Townsend), a Jamaican born, and now RI-based, reggae artist. “This collaboration was a joy and a success,” says Curt, “and with the pandemic at its peak, as a way to keep playing and have some fun, Ray and I started to create new songs, similar in style to what I had worked on with Sheldon’s Project.”
From those sessions emerged Rogue Island, an eleven track LP, packed full of collaborations and standouts. Included on the new album are performances from Bill Holloman (Nile Rodgers, Danny Gatton) on saxophone, and Charlie Giordano (E Street Band) on piano and accordion. Noted reggae producer Andrew “Moon” Bain (Lustre Kings, Zion I Kings) contributed guitar to a song, and Andrew “Drew Keys” Stoch (Shaggy, Common Kings) played piano and organ on another. Curt’s son, Gerard, even plays the sax solo on the album’s opening song. Rogue Island was mixed by Ray Gennari and mastered by Robert Vosgien at Robert Vosgien Mastering.
Now Ramm is excited to announce his newest album, Rogue Island, due out this July on Rocktorium Records. Born in the throes of 2020’s COVID-19 shutdowns, the new album is a beacon of positivity and uplifting vibes. This instrumental soundscape is set to be the perfect summer soundtrack, and will be available everywhere you stream music on July 2nd.
Today Glide is excited to premiere “Pontchartrain,” a standout track on the album that feels like the musical equivalent of a lazy New Orleans stroll. Fusing a classic reggae sound with brassy and smooth New Orleans jazz, the song finds the musicians marrying two worlds of music that you might not expect to overlap but make perfect sense once you are listening. The interplay between the accordion and the muted trumpets adds a twist to the music that is at once haunting and slinky as if creeping around the corner in the French Quarter on a balmy summer night. For Ramm, this song is a tribute to a city he loves and manages to capture its unique spirit.
Producer Ray Gennari describes the creative process behind the track:
“If someone had started with a plan for how this track ended up- with Aston Barrett Jr from the Wailers and Curt and Charlie Giordano from the E Street Band on the same song, a moment where the guitars start to dub out into a far delay and then a mournful accordion enters, a mash of roots Reggae and New Orleans Jazz, Curt’s plunger solo that just explodes from seemingly nowhere- it would have just seemed crazy. But this song is just so hauntingly beautiful and moving, it is definitely more than a sum of its parts. I absolutely love everything about it.”
Curt Ramm adds his own story about the track’s inspiration:
“In 2006, following hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, I was asked to play the Jazz Fest with Bruce Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions Band. When we arrived, it was easy to see the devastation that was brought down on the city.
I was able to take a contemplative walk around the downtown area and you could feel not only deep loss and sorrow, but also hope and confidence that the people of New Orleans would rebuild and once again celebrate their own style of jazzy, bluesy music.
They did rebuild – and my interpretation of both that sorrow and hope is what I tried to capture in “Pontchartrain.”
Charlie Giordano from the E-Street band joins me on piano and accordion on this track, and together we bring a bit of the NOLA Jazz vibe to the song.”