Take Me Back to the Ol' School

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Alex Henderson
Back in the '70s, guitarist John Tropea was the type of session player who had no problem backing a long list of rock, pop, and soul vocalists but could also handle a jazz-friendly setting when recording on his own as an instrumentalist. Tropea was frequently compared to Lee Ritenour, Eric Gale, and Larry Carlton (three other busy session guitarists with jazz chops) in the '70s, and those comparisons were still applicable in the late 2000s. Fondly recalling Tropea's '70s heyday, 2007's Take Me Back to the Ol' School boasts an impressive cast of veterans that includes, among others, Ronnie Cuber (baritone sax), Lew Soloff (trumpet), Steve Gadd (drums), Bob James (piano), ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Alex Henderson
Back in the '70s, guitarist John Tropea was the type of session player who had no problem backing a long list of rock, pop, and soul vocalists but could also handle a jazz-friendly setting when recording on his own as an instrumentalist. Tropea was frequently compared to Lee Ritenour, Eric Gale, and Larry Carlton (three other busy session guitarists with jazz chops) in the '70s, and those comparisons were still applicable in the late 2000s. Fondly recalling Tropea's '70s heyday, 2007's Take Me Back to the Ol' School boasts an impressive cast of veterans that includes, among others, Ronnie Cuber (baritone sax), Lew Soloff (trumpet), Steve Gadd (drums), Bob James (piano), and Leon Pendarvis (organ). With musicians of this caliber on board, this mostly instrumental jazz/R&B date should have been exceptional, which it isn't. But while Take Me Back to the Ol' School is slightly uneven, there are still enough memorable tracks to make it worthwhile. Charlie Parker's bebop gem "Donna Lee" receives a pleasingly funky makeover, while Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" and Eddie Kendricks' 1973 hit "Keep on Truckin'" are successfully transformed into improvisatory soul-jazz instrumentals. Another highlight of this 56-minute CD is singer Lalah Hathaway's appearance on the Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road," which is taken out of British Invasion rock and planted firmly in Northern soul. Hathaway is also featured on "You Are My Heaven," a vocal duet with bassist Will Lee and a remake of the Donny Hathaway/Roberta Flack hit; regrettably, the remake is disappointing and lacks the sparkle of the version her father performed with Flack in the late '70s. But Take Me Back to the Ol' School has more pluses than minuses, and the stronger tracks make it clear that Tropea's chops have held up well over the years.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/6/2007
  • Label: Cd Baby
  • UPC: 837101437769
  • Catalog Number: 43776
  • Sales rank: 109,280

Album Credits

Performance Credits
John Tropea Primary Artist, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Lalah Hathaway Vocals
Ronnie Cuber Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone
Ricky Peterson Organ
Lew Soloff Trumpet
Paul Shaffer Clavinet
Cliff Almond Drums
Charley Drayton Drums
Lawrence Feldman Tenor Saxophone
Steve Gadd Drums, Vocals
Mike Harvey Vocals
Will Lee Bass, Percussion, Vocals
Rick Marotta Drums
Chris Palmaro Keyboards
Shawn Pelton Drums
Leon Pendarvis Organ
David Tofani Alto Saxophone
Dave Mann Flute, Saxophone
Bette Sussman Keyboards
David Delhomme Keyboards
Bob James & Creations Piano
Technical Credits
John Tropea Arranger, Producer, Horn Arrangements
John Lennon Composer
Eric Mercury Composer
Paul Angelli Mastering
Will Lee Arranger, Producer
Jay Messina Engineer
Charlie Parker Composer
Leon Pendarvis Arranger
Ed Townsend Composer
Stevie Wonder Composer
Tommy Mitchell Horn Arrangements
David Delhomme Arranger
Jack Frisch Art Direction
Phil Ludwig Engineer
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