Fire in the Soul
The Bob Ravenscroft Trio anchors the new Ravenswave Recording® label, which has emerged as a special, state-of-the-art "audiophile jazz" music company dedicated to capturing the sound of jazz as "lush" and "intimate" as today's rapidly-advancing recording techniques will allow. Most recently Bob Ravenscroft Trio gave birth to a breathtaking new studio album called Three Alone, a two-disc triple-hybrid SACD produced at Bernie Becker Recording & Mastering in Burbank, featuring some great new originals. The album can be played in the pristine Super Audio CD (SACD) format, on surround stereo, and on conventional CD players as well. Ravenswave's first release, The Bob Ravenscroft Trio at Taliesin West, was a labor of love from many standpoints. This intimate evening in the Music Pavilion at Frank Lloyd Wright's famed western enclave, Taliesin West, was recorded in Dolby 5.1 surround sound. Jazz fans with DVD players dig the superb audio and video qualities, and the concert really 'comes alive' in the most sophisticated home theaters. Ken Hughes of Keyboard Magazine called it "...the Courvoisier of jazz DVDs." (The album is also available on compact disc.) Like it's recordings, the group's live performances pay homage to the Bob Ravenscroft Trio's contemporary musical roots, which just happen to read like the history of jazz itself. The threesome can deliver inspired renderings of challenging works by jazz greats such as Bill Evans, Scott LaFaro, Gary McFarland and Joe Zawinul, or they can take off into sheer exploration on Bob Ravenscroft's impressionistic originals. Ravenscroft's style is sensitive and seasoned, but also far-ranging and free. This is a fine player whose time has surely come for exposure on a larger scale. Leader and pianist Bob Ravenscroft has long been a man in pursuit of sonic perfection. His family literally has music in it's blood, traceable all the way back to Thomas Ravenscroft, composer of the Whole Booke of Psalms in 1621. Four centuries later, Bob continues to bring a spiritual element and meditative reverence for the environment to his music. He draws upon an extensive jazz writing, arranging and performing background to create 'live' compositions, enabling his audiences to virtually become part of the creative process. Over the years, Ravenscroft has worked with countless fine musicians, both in his own combos and with others. His Jazzbird Studio played a pivotal role in the Phoenix music community for almost two decades, offering jazz instruction, audio production, and numerous concert series. An able and avid teacher, he has served on several jazz studies faculties over the years and has helped to shape scores of up-and-coming performers. In addition to his love for the acoustic piano, Bob is also a master at creating textures with electronic keyboards. Ravenswave® also has plans for a future series of original recordings featuring his dramatic synthesizer sounds. Drummer Rob Schuh has played in a wide variety of styles over his 20-year career. A virtual high school prodigy on the skins (in 1980-81 he was first chair for the All-State Jazz Band in Florida), Rob went on to formal music studies at the University of Miami and Arizona State University. At ASU, he linked up with another outstanding young player, trombonist-keyboarder Joey Sellers, forming quite the unusual group for a bunch of progressive-minded collegians. Before they knew it, they were making a name for themselves playing Dixieland jazz of all things. In fact, they quickly gained so much notoriety for Dixieland that Disneyland came a-calling, and hired them for the ultimate "day gig" as the theme park's popular Side Street Strutters. They worked the streets of Disneyland for several years while quietly plotting forays back into modern, all-original jazz. Speaking of which, Rob Schuh has played with progressive musicians from all over the world, including: Jaco Pastorius, Ernie Watts, Joe Henderson, John Medeski, Frank Vignola, Tony Malaby and Ira Sullivan as well as Bob Ravenscroft. At the height of his growing success, Schuh had renal failure in January of 1991 and was in dialysis for more than eight years. He received a kidney transplant in October of 1998 and continues to pursue his jazz endeavors with a special flair and fire. The most recent addition to the Bob Ravenscroft Trio is acoustic bassist Steve Millhouse, a veteran jazzman who enjoys "first call" status on his instrument of choice . . . a massive bass once owned by the great Rufus Reid. Steve Millhouse has performed with a fleet of great jazz artists, including James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Lewis Nash, Mike Wofford, and others. Steve can also be heard on recordings such as the Grammy-nominated Fourth World and Inner Voices with R. Carlos Nakai, as well as Rights of Seclusion with saxophonist Jeff Morrison. As for "range," Steve gets the call for all kinds of gigs and is given plenty of room to "stretch." He has played on national radio and TV commercials, with popular artists like Bernadette Peters and Michael Feinstein, on gigs with comics like Bob Newhart and Don Rickles, and in the orchestra pit with the touring versions of Broadway hits such as "The Producers" and "A Chorus Line." In his "spare time?" Steve teaches double bass and electric bass at Mesa Community College, Phoenix College, and Grand Canyon University as well as privately.