Tim Ries Rocks The Django
Get set for March with famed Rolling Stones saxophonist Tim Ries.
The Django presents famed saxophonist of The Rolling Stones, Tim Ries, for unforgettable performances this March! We recently sat down with Tim to find out how he got started in the biz, what we can expect to hear from him, and what’s in store for 2023. Be sure to book your table for his shows at either 7:30 PM or 9PM on March 9th or March 30th.
Who were some of your earliest musical influences?
My father was a trumpet player and I played with his dance band in Michigan when I was 10 years old until I went to college. My father had a beautiful sound and great phrasing, so he was my first, and perhaps most important influence. He played a lot of jazz LPs, and his favorites became mine: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Stan Getz were early influences. When I was in high school, I started buying my own LPs and was heavily influenced by Miles Davis and his various quintets, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Stanley Terrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Maynard Ferguson and Donald Byrd, to name just a few.
Tell us about the first time you played for an audience.
My grandmother played the piano so anytime there was a family gathering at her house my father would put my saxophone in the car and I had to play with her in front of my entire extended family, and I was not a fan of doing this. Then I played with my father’s band at hundreds of dances from an early age, playing mostly older jazz standards.
When did you decide that you would make a life in music?
It was almost not even a choice, it just happened since I was playing at an early age and making money playing gigs. The only other thing I wanted to do, really wanted to do, was to be the catcher with the Detroit Tigers. I played baseball every day and absolutely loved it. That was my real dream, so music was a close second choice. Not a bad second choice.
What’s it like performing with the greatest rock and roll band of all time, The Rolling Stones?
In a word: Awesome. In a few more words, I feel very fortunate that I’ve had this great opportunity for nearly 25 years. They treat us very well and I am enjoying it now even more than when I first got the gig. I miss Charlie Watts a lot. In addition to being a great drummer, jazz drummer, he was a kind and giving person who always made time for everyone. The band is still sounding great, and Steve Jordon is sounding quite amazing. Let’s hope the band keeps touring for many years.
What’s on your music player these days, anything surprising?
I listen to everything, not just jazz. I love Brazilian music and Elis Regina is one of my all-time favorites. I play with a lot of flamenco groups, so I listen to a lot of flamenco artists like Paco de Lucia, Vicente Amigo, Camarón, Tomatito, and a young singer who I am working with a lot, Maria Terremoto. I also listen to a lot of classical music. I love listening to Bach, especially the Glenn Gould Goldberg Variations.
You’ve played with legends of jazz, pop, rock and beyond. Tell us about some of your most cherished musical experiences.
One of the most incredible days for me was recording with Elvin Jones, my favorite drummer, in the afternoon and then just down the street the same night at Radio City Music Hall performing with Stevie Wonder, my favorite singer and song writer. I’ve had so many amazing moments on stage, in the studio and just hanging out with so many great musical legends, it’s hard to pick just a couple. I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time playing with and hanging out with Donald Byrd when he ended up teaching for a while at North Texas when I was a student there. I learned a lot from him. I must say, it is still a thrill playing with the Stones every night in front of 60,000 people. Kind of hard to top that.
What’s your favorite thing about New York?
It is a love/hate relationship with NYC. So many things in both categories. The main reason I moved here was to connect with the best musicians in the world, and I have been lucky enough to do just that. And there are so many talented people in New York. That is the most positive thing for me. In addition, I do love the cultural diversity in the city and the great energy. There are some great restaurants and of course, all the music venues to check out so many great artists.
What can people expect to hear at your Django shows this March?
I am very excited to play at Django in January following my Thursday residency this past November. I really appreciate this great opportunity to perform at this wonderful venue. I have written many new compositions just for this show. It will be a mixture of new and some older songs of mine and a few jazz standards. I am honored to share the stage with these talented musicians.
Who are some artists you still want to work with?
Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, more times with Jack DeJohnette, Vicente Amigo, Tomatito, and at least another 100 artists. Too many to name.
What’s coming from you in 2023?
I am arranging some music and producing and recording some wonderful flamenco artists in Spain in early 2023. Maria Terremoto and I are performing a lot and will record soon. Also, I will be in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Ireland, Germany, Italy, and Spain early in 2023. Hopefully a certain British band will perform again soon in 2023; fingers crossed.