Ron Odrich - Blackstick

Ron Odrich’s Blackstick is a classic recording and one that shows that he is a major clarinetist. Originally a cellist, Odrich switched to clarinet when he was 13, taking lessons from Buddy DeFranco and Lennie Tristano. He made his first recordings in the 1950s with the Vinnie Burke Quartet. Odrich worked in the studios and with Broadway pit orchestras. By the 1960s he was working during the day as a dentist and a jazz clarinetist at night. But with the release of 1978’s Blackstick, it was obvious that he was no mere part-time player but a significant jazz musician.

Blackstick has Ron Odrich overdubbing on both clarinet and bass clarinet, sometimes interacting with himself in a manner similar to Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker. He performs six originals, four Gerry Mulligan tunes, and Antonio Carlos Jobim's “How Insensitive.” Odrich is joined by a top-notch rhythm section comprised of Harry Leahy or Gene Bertoncini on guitar, bassist George Duvivier, either Grady Tate or Bobby Rosengarden on drums, and percussionist Leopoldo Fleming. The music mixes together cool jazz, Brazilian jazz and bits of classical music, with the highpoints including “Line For Lyons,” “Wood On Wood” and “Idol Gossip.” Blackstick is most highly recommended for listeners who think that the clarinet is only for swing and Dixieland. 


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Afro Disco Espresso Summer Day How Insensitive Line for Lyons Jaunt Brazilian Wood Bisque-O-Dop Waltz Wood on Wood Idol Gossip

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist No
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer No
Accompanist/ Conductor No


Customer Reviews (2)

"Woodwind Wizard!"Review by Big Toots
CJ 35 Blackstick Ron Odrich

Recorded in 1978, “Blackstick” is a fine effort wherein leader Ron Odrich grabs two black sticks – his clarinet, of course, and its bigger and deeper sounding brother, the bass clarinet - and wails away across 11 selections with the genre bar tipping some to the Bossa Nova. Backed by two different superb piano-less rhythm sections comprised of New York studio types (including a third – with a few Odrich relatives supporting just as terrifically as the Apple Boys on Jobim’s “How Insensitive”), Odrich and all the teams are invigorating, musically marvelous collaborations.

On either axe – and on both as he overdubbed here at times - Odrich is a marvel of technique, control and improvisational fervor. To his credit, Odrich, classically-trained, never manhandles or overblows the delicate woodwind which some clarinetists of lesser talent frequently do. His sound is robust, his vibrato superbly quasi-vocal and phrasing ideal. And, he swings his tuchis off (“Espresso,” “Line for Lyons,” “Waltz”). On the slower material, Odrich’s dynamics and expression thereof are divine (“Summer Day”). He’s an all-around ace.

Brother Jim Odrich provided six neat originals (and all the arrangements) with the bulk of the date being send-ups of well-known Gerry Mulligan material (“Espresso,” “Line for Lyons,” “Wood on Wood,” and the burning “Idol Gossip”). Irrespective of the genre or groove here, Odrich holds court swashbuckling his way across both melody and his solo excursions. His overdubbing is perfection, being meticulous in terms of intonation, timing and articulation – no small feat.

Overall, “Blackstick” is a terrific listen. It’s Ron Odrich at his wood-wizardry finest.
(Posted on 5/12/2015)
Ron Odrich: BlackstickReview by Simon Sez
Ron Odrich never became too famous and has actually spent much of his life working as a dentist. But he is a great clarinetist who could play bop, cool jazz and Brazilian music as well as anyone.
Blackstick is a wonderful recording, featuring Oldrich on clarinet and bass clarinet, sometimes at the same time (using overdubbing). He not only interacts very well with himself but with a top rhythm section that includes Gene Bertoncini or Harry Leahy on guitar. These versions of “Line For Lyons,” “Idol Gossip” (Odrich loves Gerry Mulligan songs), his own “Wood On Wood” and even a song called “Afro-Disco” are memorable.

Simon Sez: Ron Odrich on Blackstick (CJ35) shows that he has been one of the best modern jazz clarinetists of the past 40 years.
(Posted on 5/6/2014)

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