A deeply melodic guitarist along the lines of Grant Green. Apicella faithfully has sought to channel an era of American music when hard bop and R&B reigned... But the guitarist still manages to keep things fresh.
New York guitarist Charlie Apicella's musical voice runs historically deep, with his seven recordings to date highly focused on celebrating the elders of jazz, R&B, and the Blues. His band, Iron City, has been with him the whole way, providing a base context for all of his projects. With Destiny Calling, this hard bop rhythm section drives headlong into the future as the elder masters of The Griots Speak draw from a lifetime of experience in communication with the ancestors. Trail blazing percussionist Juma Sultan formed the Griots with saxophonist Daniel Carter, bassist William Parker and Apicella to help celebrate a patriarch of New York's '60's loft scene. Simultaneously fluid, extroverted, light, confrontational, and meditative, their music is poetry in motion. They create spontaneously, as they move between instruments, including a variety of indigenous instruments which convey a pan-ancestral tapestry at the core of their sound. For Apicella, it's the realization of lessons learned through his studies with Yusef Lateef and the opportunity to further amplify the legacy.
1 As the Sun Rises 2:16 (Apicella, Parker, Carter)
2 Titan vs. Sphinx 3:45 (Apicella)
3 Juma's Song/Maliki Malesha 3:57 (Sultan & Apicella / traditional)
4 We're All Here in Spirit 4:31 (Apicella, Parker, Sultan)
5 It's Alright to Run 4:27 (Apicella, Parker, Sultan)
6 I Heard in Passing 3:40 (Apicella)
7 If You Know Where to Look 8:15 (Parker, Walker, Apicella)
8 Where Do You Find These People? 5:04 (Whiteley, Carter, Apicella)
9 Sparks 7:06 (Apicella)
The Griots Speak:
Daniel Carter - saxophones, flute, clarinet, trumpet, piano
Charlie Apicella - madal drum, Tibetan singing bowls, guitar
William Parker - bass, doson ngoni, double reed: gralla, gembiri, pocket trumpet
Juma Sultan - congas, shakers, percussion
Charlie Apicella & Iron City:
Brad Whiteley - organ
Austin Walker - drums
Produced by Charlie Apicella
Executive Producer: Daniel Carter
Recorded Nov. 13, 2022 by Peter Karl
at Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, NY
Mixed and mastered by Chris Sulit
at Trading 8s, Paramus, NJ
Recording session photos by Charlie Apicella
Cover design & layout by John Bishop
Marlbank (UK) (Stephen Graham)
With winningly loose and organic sounding pieces written in collaboration with The Griot Speaks guitarist Charlie Apicella who leads the organ-guitar-drums combo Iron City meshes in a very free flowing pan-African riff led spree. Avant bass icon William Parker superb with Elaine Mitchener, Orphy Robinson et al a few years ago on Good News is in glo ...
Jazz Weekly (George W Harris)
Two bands for the price of one are served here, as the Iron City team of Brad Whiteley/org and Austin Walker/dr join forces with The Gritos Speak band of Daniel Carter/sax-fl-cl-p-tp, Charlie Apicella/perc-g, William Parker/b-misc and Juma Sultan/perc. The result is a combination of soul grooves and sounds that serve as a foundation for exotic harm ...
Jazz Views (UK) (Ed Sapiega)
Traditionally, the griot is the human repository of remembered oral history and traditions regarding West African culture. The griot is a historian, storyteller, praise singer, poet, and/or musician. When the griot speaks, it is from a lifetime of communicating about the ancestors. Here it is about communicating traditions and spurring others to pl ...
All About Jazz (Troy Dostert)
Since the early 2000s, guitarist Charlie Apicella's Iron City trio has devoted itself to maintaining the tradition of soulful, organ-based jazz. The aptly-titled Groove Machine (OA2 Records, 2019) preceded Destiny Calling, the group's 2023 album. And the latest one is quite a change-up. For this outing, Apicella has teamed up with The Griots Speak, ...
All About Jazz (Hrayr Attarian)
4-STARS Guitarist Charlie Apicella and his organ trio Iron City are solidly based in the hard-bop mainstream. However, some of their releases are flavored with other motifs, partially by virtue of the guest artists. For instance, the tribute to legendary guitarist B.B. King, Payin' the Cost To Be the Boss (CArlo, Music, 2016), with an augmented se ...
Take Effect (Tom Haugen)
An extremely creative listen, the combination of organ grooves and free improvisation come together here for the hard bop presence that has Charlie Apicella handling madal drum, Tibetan singing bowls and guitar with much expertise alongside The Griot Speak's inimitable playing. "As The Sun Rises" opens the listen with Daniel Carter's fluid clar ...