A conversation between Steve Gadd and Larry Goldings upon hearing "Boom Bang, Boom Bang!"

L.G. Charles is such a deep swinger! It seems that he, even in his mid-teens, was an amazing talent, and always had such respect for, and knowledge about the straight-ahead jazz tradition.

S.G. I love the way he plays everything, but his straight-ahead kills me. I can really hear the influence of his dad, Vinnie Ruggiero, and I say that because Vinnie loved Philly Joe Jones, Art Blakey, Elvin, Tony Williams -- and I can hear those guys in Charles.

L.G. I go pretty far back with Charles, but you go even farther, right?

S.G. I first heard Charles when he was playing with Chuck Mangione - in fact we did the gig together. He really impressed me then, and that was quite a few years ago. And from being on the same bandstand with him, I know that he can do pretty much whatever he wants to do, and does it all so well.

L.G. This is a great band - with in instrumentation that's not often heard. Jeremy Manasia really sounds like he has spent time with the Rhodes piano...it's not something any piano player can just automatically play well. And he blends so well with Ian on flute, who I've always thought was great. This instrumentation, by the way, may be a bit of a nod to the classic quartet you had with Chick Corea, Joe Farrell and Eddie Gomez?

S.G. Well, they play "The One Step" from Friends, and I love this version. This sounds like a band that really enjoys playing together, and I would guess they have played a lot over the years, because you can hear a strong commitment there. I would love to hear this band live....I can only imagine that they take it to another level.

L.G. It's very flattering to hear this group play Peter Bernstein's "Little Green Men," a tune Charles knew from my organ trio with Peter and Bill Stewart. Hearing it with this instrumentation gives it a whole new twist. I also love the group's take on "I'm A Broken Heart" by the pop duo, The Bird and the Bee. The original version has an almost Beach Boys flavor, but here the band makes it sound like a jazz standard. The singer, Hilary Gardner, sounds great. Had you heard this song before?

S.G. No, I thought it was an original -- It's a great song, and I love the singer.

L.G. "Liftoff" shows the ease in which Charles, and the whole group, can pull off a brisk tempo....So many players get heavy handed and edgy with a fast tempo, but here Barak and Charles make it sound so easy, allowing the others to still play thoughtfully and melodically.

S.G. That's right....and that's the real shit. The album has a real sense of honest musicianship. These are guys that love playing together and are being true to what's in their heart and souls.

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Boom Bang , Boom Bang !

When a peer like Steve Gadd tips the cap to another drummer, even if you don't know who he is, you pay attention. From tyro to old pro in 30 short years, Ruggiero finally moves his name and chops to the fore and shows he's a jazzbo first as he's one of those drummers that knows how to give everyone some. Going back to his roots, he delivers a snazzy set that'll fill your CTI sweet tooth for something in the pocket and new. This is a tasty date that was more than a long time in the making. Check it out. - Chris Spector (Midwest Jazz Record)

Charles Ruggiero emerges from the shadows of other artists and delivers his first statement as leader with the very impressive Boom Bang, Boom Bang! serving notice that he deserves the notoriety and recognition as a drummer of note which, of course, he already has and this audacious breakout performance, may further cement this well-deserved reputation. - Edward Blanco (All About Jazz)

If th’ cockles o’ yer’ jazz heart don’t reflect the title after you listen to Charles’s high-energy jazz drum works on this superb little release, you don’t really know as much about jazz as you think you do! ... super players, all right-on-time & totally together! - Rotcod Zzaj (Improvijazzation Nation)