Curt Ramm is excited to announce his newest album, Rogue Island, Produced by 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 is available now everywhere you stream music.
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.
Curt is certainly no stranger to jazz either. From his roots in Kansas City, playing lead trumpet with the Charlie Parker Memorial Foundation Jazz Orchestra, through the release of his album “Foundations” with fellow jazz luminaries Bill Cunliffe and Dan Moretti, jazz music is never far from Curt’s heart or playing.
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 (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.”
Unable to gather and perform with other musicians due to pandemic restrictions, Curt Ramm and Ray Gennari took a different and unusual approach to the recording process of Rogue Island. Tapping into Ray’s recording experience with notable reggae artists they reimagined drum tracks from Aston Barrett, Jr. (The Wailers) and Brady Robinson (Pentateuch Movement) from earlier Rocktorium Records projects, and the heart of Rogue Island was born.
Curt recalls “Ray would play bass, guitar, and some keyboard parts to set up the arrangement and vibe, and send the track to me to write horn melodies and background brass parts. We bounced the ideas back and forth, sometimes three or four times – changing the form, adding a bridge, and deciding on endings. Being unable to work together in the studio in person, we talked constantly on the phone until the song was feeling complete.”
To round out the album, Curt and Ray decided to incorporate remotely recorded performances from friends on the record, and eventually, when Covid restrictions eased, to invite local musicians and friends to record in person to finish up Rogue Island.
Reflecting back on the process, Curt comments, “Ray and I were both thankful to have a fun and creative escape from the pressures of the pandemic, and the few people we had shared our creations with really loved the positive and uplifting vibe of the songs.”
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.
Leading up to the album’s release, Ramm unveiled four singles, all of which have received much praise. “Pontchartrain” mixes Curt’s swinging horns with classic reggae riffs to create an ode to the Big Easy and the resilience of the city. Topshelf Music hailed “Smugglers Cove” as a song to put wind in anyone’s sails, and the upbeat ska vibe of “Surfers End” makes it the feel good summer song we need right now! Most recently Ramm released the music video for “Smuggler’ Cove” which premiered on Reggaeville.
The new record leans deep into its reggae influences but also showcases the diversity and versatility that has defined Curt’s musical career, and his gift for melodies and horn arranging brings the album to a unique musical place. An album that takes the listener through a range of emotions and vibes ranging from the bouncing energy of “Smuggler’s Cove” to the lazy New Orleans stroll of “Pontchartrain” to the slow burn of “Blue Wave.” The album closes with “From The Baseline” the track that started it all- Curt’s instrumental version of Clatta Bumboo’s vocal track “Baseline.”
“We are so proud and excited to be releasing Curt Ramm’s Rogue Island. To work with such an incredible musician was an honor and a joy, especially on such an amazing record,” comments Ray Gennari, album producer and owner of Rocktorium Records. Rogue Island is available now on all streaming platforms. Signed CDs and digital downloads are available now at Curtramm.com
1. “Smuggler’s Cove”
2. “Full Boat”
6. “Surfer’s End”
7. “Blue Wave”
8. “Dancehall Dreams”
9. “Everyday Beach”
11. “From The Baseline” Clatta Bumboo feat. Curt Ramm