While with Hamp's band, some of the highlights were a Ramsey Lewis television special, and a recorded concert at the Smithsonian Institute, where Ron's solos were taped and put into their Archives. Ron was the featured soloist and arranger for performances with Nat Adderley at the world-famous Apollo Theatre, and he also performed at the Paramount Theatre with King Curtis' Big Band. Ron has played shows for literally hundreds of stars, including Clint Holmes, Rita Moreno, Robert Merrill, Chita Rivera, Rich Little, and Billy Eckstine.
In 1974, Ron Aprea recorded with John Lennon and Elton John on the album entitled, Walls and Bridges. The all-star horn section included Howard Johnson, Frank Vicari, and Steve Madeo. Ron was a featured soloist on the jazz-gospel album, Free to Be Free. He also wrote, arranged, and produced his own album, Ronnie April's Positive Energy Volume 1. Ron had his own TV special on WNYC, and was a featured soloist on Broadway's Song of Singapore.
Ron's compositions, arrangements, and productions skills can be heard on Angela DeNiro's first CD, Just For the Fun of It, as well as her second release, Angela DeNiro...Swingin' With Legends, featuring Lionel Hampton, Frank Foster, and Lew Tabackin.
Ron and Angela brought the house down at the Five Towns College Jazz Concert in 1998 and 1999. Ron was featured with the Kenny Barron Trio at the 1998 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival,and was part of the All-Star cast, which included Frank Foster, Frank Wess, Bill Watrous, Jon Faddis, Al Grey, Ray Brown, Marion McPartland, Abbey Lincoln, and Diana Krall. In addition to a full performance schedule, Ron spends much time composing and arranging, both for an instrumental big band album, and for vocalist Angela DeNiro.
In 1998, Ron's production of Angela DeNiro's "Swingin' With Legends" album, featuring Lionel Hampton, Frank Foster, Lew Tabackin, and Ron's all-star 16 piece big band, received EIGHT GRAMMY nomination entries, three of which were: Producer of the Year, and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist for Angela DeNiro's "Avalon" & "The Song Is You." On that historic album, Angela DeNiro became the first and only singer to record "Midnight Sun" with its composer, Lionel Hampton. http://www.ronaprea.com
In January 2001, Ron's band, with Angela DeNiro, was featured on BET-TV. The national program, called "Jazz Discovery", showcased jazz artists in competition, and was judged by a panel of three, which included jazz legend Chick Corea. Angela, with Ron's band, won. Later that year, Ron completed an arranging assignment for vocalist Alex Donner, featuring nine of Ron's arrangements. Alex released the first of a 2-CD set in the spring of 2001. Ron co-hosted a weekly jazz radio show on WSHR, 91.9 FM, New York, with his wife, vocalist Angela DeNiro. Their show, Rush-Hour Rendezvous ran successfully for two years, and featured great jazz and musical conversation.
In 2007, Ron Aprea and his wife jazz vocalist Angela DeNiro headlined les Nuits du Jazz Festival, in Nantes France, and were featured with the Cote Ouest Big Band, under the direction of Jean-Phillipe Vidal.
Ron produced, arranged, and performed on three albums for vocalist Damian. "Follow Your Dreams" was Damian's first under Ron's direction. "Damian with Brian Lynch and Friends" was next, and "Early Autumn ...Again with Brian Lynch" was number three. Ron did the writing for all three albums which included several tracks with a string section. Ron also played solos on this trio of albums, and on Damian's Early Autumn album Ron can be heard trading fours, at breakneck speed, with Brian Lynch on "Lady Be Good."
Ron also produced, arranged, and played on jazz vocalist Billy C's release entitled "Do You Remember Mr. B?"
In Ron's youth he would often frequent the jazz club Birdland in NYC, and whenever Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers would play Birdland, Ron would be there in the gallery soaking it all in. Ron, early on, was a big band enthusiast with a passion for the Basie band. But Blakey's Jazz Messengers always had the intensity of a big band and with plenty of blowing space for his all-star lineup. The perfect combination of power and creativity.
On June 5th 2013 Ron released his own album entitled Ron Aprea Sextet-Remembering Blakey, Ron's tribute to Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers. Ron's front line on this album is Joe Magnarelli-trpt., Jerry Weldon-tenor, and Ron on alto. The rhythm section is Cecilia Coleman-piano, Tim Givens-bass, and Vince Cherico-drums. The album is a mix of originals and standards. Ron has two of his own originals, Sophia (written for his granddaughter)
Ron is currently working on an album with vocalist Tony Yezzo. The producer is bassist Al Cardillo, who collaborated with Ron on the writing. Ron also can be heard soloing on both flute and alto.
Future plans will include Ron's son Matt Aprea who is a virtuoso violinist, and his wife, jazz vocalist Angela DeNiro. http://www.allaboutjazz.com/
GingerNewYork found on Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) since launching in November, 2010, has been showcasing the “Kool Kats…Gotham Nights” greats of music and culture of New York and beyond. What defines GingerNewYork is its host Ginger Broderick’s unique insight, connection to and pulse on the music and culture of Gotham making GingerNewYork one of the most sought after programs to appear on.
GingerNewYork can be seen in Manhattan on Time Warner Cable Channel 34, Fios Channel 33, and RCN Channel 82, every Friday afternoon at 2pm EST. It can also be seen live streaming on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network's website, www.mnn.org, Channel 1.
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