Ernest Ranglin: Avila


When legendary guitarist Ernest Ranglin came to play the High Sierra Music Festival in July of 2011, Tony Mindel decided to put together a band to provide sympathetic backing for his appearance. “Ernest has an incredible musical ear and a work ethic and stamina that’s amazing,” Mindel says. “I decided to put together a dream band with Inx Herman from South Africa (Paul Simon), Yossi Fine from Israel (David Bowie, Lou Reed) and Jonathan Korty from California. They clicked on stage and we decided to see if we could capture that same magic in the studio.”

Avila was recorded live in the studio in three days, sandwiched between shows at the High Sierra Festival and Healdsburg Jazz Festival. The result is a collection that combines bedrock grooves with Ranglin’s free flowing brilliance. “Ernest showed up with beautiful charts written out, note for note, but he allowed the other players to add their own color and style,” Mindel says. “They sound like they’ve been playing together for years.” The band rehearsed on Avila Street in San Francisco, in the house Mindel grew up in. The basement has a listening room designed by his father. It made a perfect rehearsal space, so they borrowed the name for the band and the album.

From the lilting rock steady beat of “Manenberg”, to the swinging Count Basie-inspired “Ska Rango”, the funky “Ernossi” and the mellow “Uncle Funky”, Avila finds Ernest Ranglin in top form.

Mindel co-produced the album with Ranglin, Yossi Fine and Jonathan Chi. “It was a life changing experience,” Mindel says. “Ernest is a generous soul and perhaps the greatest living guitar player. Working with him has been a career high and the greatest honor of my life.”

Ranglin shares Mindel’s enthusiasm for the sessions. “I love playing with young musicians,” he says. “I’m still learning and everyone I meet has something to teach me. I always play my best and try to make each session a pleasing experience. I just hope the good vibes will follow me.”


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