Curt Ramm’s Latest LP Proves Surprisingly Enjoyable Through Its Mix Of Reggae, Jazz, Blues

Courtesy: Rocktorium Records

When the COVID-19 pandemic made its way across the United States (and world) in 2019 and 2020), its effects were felt in every avenue of life to say the very least.  For all of the negatives impacts caused by the pandemic, one positive came about as a result.  That positive is the massive increase in new music created by artists and acts throughout the musical universe.  Even now as 2021 continues to progress, audiences continue to receive new music spawned during the pandemic.  That includes horn player Curt Ramm’s new album, Rogue Island.  The 11-song album is scheduled for release Friday through Rocktorium Records.  It is a unique addition to this year’s field of new reggae records to say the least.  That is due to its featured arrangements, which blend Ramm’s own expansive influences – including his reggae influences – to make its whole.  One of the most notable of the songs that serves to support the noted statements comes late in the record’s 44-minute run in the form of ‘Everyday Beach.’  It will be discussed shortly. ‘Ripped’ is another example of how Ramm has blended his diverse influences to make this record notable.  It will be discussed a little later.  The same can be said of ‘Pontchartrain,’ which will also be addressed later.  All three of the songs noted here do their own part to show what makes Rogue Island an interesting new offering from Curt Ramm.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s arrangements, the whole makes Rogue Island one of the best of this year’s field of new reggae albums.

Curt Ramm’s forthcoming album Rogue Island is an impressive addition to this year’s field of new reggae albums.  The appeal that it offers is not limited to just reggae fans.  Rather, it expands to fans of jazz and the blues.  The styles are distinctly unlike one another, but Ramm balances them expertly at points throughout the album to make the record in whole work surprisingly well.  ‘Everyday Beach,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is a prime example of how that balance of genres makes this album so interesting.  Clocking in at four minutes, 21 seconds, this composition blends Ramm’s reggae influences along with what is comparable to works from the one and only Chuck Mangione for a solid, relaxing whole.  The two wholly opposite sounds and genres work together so surprisingly well here.  Yes, there is reggae out there that uses brass instrumentations in its bigger picture.  The thing is that in the case of this song, that brass instrumentation is more bluesy and jazzy.  It makes this arrangement stand out so much more starkly from those works.  That is even despite the abrupt way in which the song ends.  The whole, smooth composition creates a rich, vivid picture of the tropics – palm trees, clear blue waters, and all related items.  The song just one clear example of what makes this record surprisingly engaging and entertaining.  It is just one of the works that shows how that balance of genres makes the album a success.  ‘Ripped’ is another strong example of what makes Rogue Island a success.

‘Ripped’ finds Ramm going in a completely different direction than that featured in ‘Everyday Beach.’  Yes, the reggae influence is clearly there once again.  However, this time Ramm and his fellow musicians pair that influence with a distinct bluesy sound and stylistic approach.  In this case, that bluesy arrangement is centered around Ramm’s work on the trombone.  Instead of the beachy sense exuded by ‘Everyday Beach,’ the whole in this case actually is dominated by the jazz and blues elements, making for just a unique work in its own part.  That is not meant in a negative sense, either.  Rather, the jazz and blues influence in this song are so strong that one cannot help but think of maybe a well-lit jazz club perhaps somewhere in the Caribbean.  It really is a unique presentation in itself.  Again, because of that uniqueness, it becomes another clear example of what makes Rogue Island such a surprisingly interesting album.

‘Ripped’ and ‘Everyday Beach’ are each strong examples of what Rogue Island deserves so much attention.  They are only a portion of what shows the album’s ability to engage and entertain audiences.  ‘Pontchartrain’ is yet another example of what makes the album interesting.  ‘Pontchartrain’ stands out among Rogue Island’s most notable songs because of the balance of its own reggae influence along with the gentle melody from Ramm’s performance on what again sounds like a flugelhorn.  Yes, the Chuck Mangione comparison is there yet again.  At the same time though, the arrangement still boasts its own identity separate from, say, the likes of ‘Everyday Beach.’  In the case of this song, that Mangione style influence leans more in a modern jazz direction than easy listening.  That is especially evidenced as the song progresses and a muted trumpet starts blowing.  The heavy, accented approach and the addition of the backing horns (and apparently even accordion) really adds a subtle big band approach here.  Again, the whole makes the song so unique in its own right separate from the album’s other songs.  Keeping that in mind as well as the sounds of the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Rogue Island unquestionably a record that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.

Curt Ramm’s new album, Rogue Island is an interesting addition to this year’s field of new reggae offerings.  That is because it is not just another run-of-the-mill reggae albums.  Rather it brings together the best of two (and sometimes three) worlds for its whole.  That blending of influences and sounds makes Rogue Island a surprisingly enjoyable offering that reggae fans will appreciate just as much as those of jazz and the blues.  Rogue Island is scheduled for release Friday through Rocktorium Records.  More information on Rogue Island is available along with all of Curt Ramm’s latest news at:



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