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Charlie Apicella & Iron City: Payin' The Cost To Be The Boss

Charlie Apicella, Iron City, BB King, Blues, Jazz, WBGO, Radar, Exclusive Stream

After one conversation with Charlie Apicella you quickly get his guitar is a lot more than six strings. It's things in life, deep seated, that inspired this Massachusetts native to make it his life.

Already a student of guitar, Charlie's was immeasurably affected by seeing and meeting blues legend B.B. King, who told him, "listen to Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell, two of my favorites."

Apicella investigated Wes with Mel Rhyne, Burrell, Bird, Dr. Lonnie Smith, study at UMass, talking intervals with Dr. Yusef Lateef, chatting music & life with Dr. Billy Taylor.

Meet Pat Martino. Take lessons with the master from Philly.

More than six strings. Chord progressions, harmonics, NEVER forget the importance of melody. Never forgot B.B. King.
Hard work to make an attitude a belief. Harder still to believe in yourself, develop your musical skills to document what's inside. Take what you've seen and make music out of it.

Yes, "Payin' The Cost To Be The Boss" is a tribute to B.B. But just as King and his guitar lady Lucille were more, Charlie Apicella & Iron City are more. Along here are organist David Braham, who brings his sense memory of Lou Donaldson and Houston Person, among other soulful legionnaires. Long time Apicella bandmate, drummer Alan Korzin, saxophonist Stephen Riley, trumpeter Freddie Hendrix and percussionist Mayra Casales add to Charlie's vision and this group effort that gels from the first notes of "You Upset Me Baby", "I'm King" and "Rock Me Baby", all B.B. King anthems, and a hat trick of those six strings firmly rooted in the blues. Check out Freddie Hendrix' best James "Boogaloo" Bolden moves as the rest lock into the session.

"Mosaics", an Apicella original inspired by a visit to a mosaic filled cathedral in Sicily, takes a Wes chord progression, moving it to a sweaty night anywhere along the Chitlin circuit. Apicella's fluid tasteful guitar lines lay it out for Braham's B-3, Korzin and Casales churning the rhythm alongside Riley's sax.

"Delia Soul" will have some of you remembering late nights at Cecil's in West Orange, New Jersey, where Apicella first met trumpeter Hendrix and folks like guitarist Dave Stryker, who produced Charlie's first record, bringing along saxophonist Riley, who on this bluesy chart adds just enough smoke.

More than six strings. It's evident on Grant Green's "Outer Space", Apicella comping space for Riley's sax and Braham's organ to heat things up.

Sitting in a practice room across from Yusef Lateef's office at UMass, banjo in hand, Apicella discovered the traditional hymn, "Over In The Gloryland". This soulful struttter will have you puttin' all your money in the plate! Apicella's guitar lines have the brothers and sisters feelin' it, a warm hand to Riley's sax and Braham's hands in the air organ work.
Charlie Apicella doesn't mind at all Payin' the cost to be the boss. The takeaway - a blues and soul drenched peek at his beliefs...so much more than six strings.

"Payin' The Cost To Be The Boss" comes out May 6th. Charlie Apicella celebrates his new record in performance May 14 at Liberty House at Liberty State Park.

Gary Walker / Morning Jazz

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