When Ernest Ranglin played the High Sierra Music Festival in July of 2011, producer Tony Mindel put together a backing trio of players able to shift between genres as easily as the master. The band included drummer Inx Herman (Vusi Mahlasla, Hugh Masekela, Paul Simon, Sting, Hamsa Lila), bassist Yossi Fine (Gil Evans, John Scofield, Rube?n Blades, Stanley Jordan, Me’shell Ndegeocello, Ex-Centric Sound System) and keyboard ace Jonathan Korty (Vinyl, Electric Apricot).
After the Festival, Ranglin and the band went into the studio. In three days of feverish creativity, they emerged with ‘Avila,’ a record that won international kudos for its creative fusion of styles. During the sessions, the band forged a deep musical and personal bond. When Ranglin mentioned to Mindel that he had enough new songs for another album, Mindel made some calls and reassembled the band. This time around, Ranglin and the band had time to experiment with different rhythms, textures and flavors; they brewed up one of the finest albums Ranglin’s ever made. “This is an international band,” Mindel says. “Ernest is from Jamaica, Inx from South Africa, Yossi from Israel and Jonathan is a Californian. As they worked together, the interplay became instinctive. He had meticulously written charts for all the songs he brought in, but he was open to the band’s interpretations of the tunes. He’s a generous soul, musically and otherwise, with an amazing sense of humor and a work ethic and stamina that blew away the other musicians. He is a gentleman and one of the world’s greatest living guitar players. This band sounds like they’ve been playing together for years,” Mindel says. ‘Bless Up’ is available now.