Hi! I'm Ron Aprea, jazz saxophonist & arranger, and I’ve been recording and producing albums for over 30 years. In 1974, I had the honor of being one of the “Little Big Horns” on John Lennon’s 1974 “Walls and Bridges” album. John was an amazing human being, and my vision is to honor the music and spirit of John Lennon with a jazz tribute album. ( You can read more about my experience with John Lennon below.)
This album will include 12 songs, most of which are Lennon or Lennon/McCartney collaborations, with a gem by George Harrison.
I’ll be writing all the musical arrangements, but here’s what we need to budget for:
- ·Rhythm section (piano, bass, drums)
- ·Full string section
- ·I’ll be on alto sax and flute, and we’ll be inviting world-class horn players to join us
- Studio time: Recording sessions & Mixing & Mastering
- Photography, Artwork
- CD production and pressing
- Royalty fees (Harry Fox Agency)
- Marketing: Radio, PR (probably 1/3 of the budget)
- Domestic and international distribution
- Kickstarter fee: 5% of funded project
- Amazon: 5% of funded project (credit card fees)
I’m confident this project can be completed with $7,500…but I’ve set the Kickstarter goal at $5,000, as this is an all-or-nothing fundraiser.
FYI...please remember that your pledges are not collected or distributed unless we reach 100% of our goal.
Take a look at the rewards that you can have for your support. They include t-shirts and gifts with reproduced images of two of my favorite souvenirs from my stint with John Lennon (see photo above). It would be my pleasure to send them to you. Thank you and bless you for your generosity!
Below are excerpts from my “John Lennon Story” which can be read in its entirety at http://ronaprea.com/john-lennon.html
Shortly after I had finished another road stint with Lionel Hampton's band in the spring of 1974, I got a call from my friend, trumpeter Steve Madaio, who asked if I was busy the next Wednesday. I thought he was talking about jammin' or hanging out, so I told him I was open. Eventually I found out it was for a record date. From his nonchalant demeanor I figured it was probably for a demo or maybe a project that he was producing, so I said sure. We small talked for a while, and at the end of our conversation I asked him for details about the session. Steve said, "Oh, it's with John Lennon."
The project was an album to be called "Walls and Bridges." John was no longer a Beatle, and this was to be his first attempt at producing an album with horns. The recording sessions were held at the Record Plant in New York City, and there were five horn players. Howard Johnson played baritone and bass sax, Bobby Keys and Frank Vicari played tenors, Steve was on trumpet, and I played alto.
After the introductions to the other musicians and Lennon, I asked Steve if I could have a look at the alto book. Steve looked a little uneasy, and said, "There's no music, but everything's cool." I chuckled and asked if I could take a peek at the music. Steve repeated, there was no music. I said, "Five horns, and no music? You're kidding, right?" Steve said, "Don't panic, it's pretty simple stuff. Just listen to me and it does get easier as you go."
I knew playing "head charts" was easy for Steve, who had toured for years with the Butterfield Blues Band, Stevie Wonder and the Rolling Stones. My background was in big and small jazz bands. While it was common for small jazz groups (and rock bands) to make up unwritten arrangements, bigger bands rarely played without "charts." Also, most bands that I played with during that time did not live in the keys of E, A, and B. About a dozen times during the first session, I came pretty close to splitting. I kept remembering Steve's line about it getting easier as you go.
During a break, I went into a small room at Record Plant to copy some lead sheets. Lennon entered and walked over to the copy machine that I was using. Without a pause, Lennon bent over and, still wearing his eyeglasses, put his face on the glass plate on the copier, and hit the "Copy" button. Two blinding lights later, two copies of John's smiling face, with a slightly flattened nose, came sliding out. My first thought was, this guy's gonna go blind. John then straightens up, smiles, and says, "Hang on to these (photostats) 'cause some day they will be worth a fortune." Steve Madaio and I each kept a copy. We rolled them up and stuck them in our instrument cases. Given the pressure of the recording itself, these photostats seemed pretty insignificant at the time. I could not know then that it would become one of my most cherished possessions. My copy has been framed and has been hanging on my wall ever since. I also saved copies of the lead sheets that we used for the recording. They're pretty funny, all covered with scribbling. The music looks like a road map, complete with arrows navigating me through a maze of penciled-in notes. And it all worked. After one our multi-track overdubs, complete with lines and counter-lines, Steve cracked, "Man, when those arrangers are sitting around listening to this shit, they're gonna say, 'Who wrote those mother f-king charts!'"
Risks and challenges
There are no risks. I've successfully produced dozens of albums. I've already written all the arrangements, have a studio for recording, and am ready to hire musicians and get this project up and running.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions, and thank you again for your support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)