Art-Rock Music
Musical Memoirs by Dee Dee McNeil

Ron Boustead, lyricist/vocals; Bill Cunliffe, piano/Fender Rhodes/Hammond B3 organ; Mitchel Forman, piano/Fender Rhodes/Hammond B3 organ/accordion; John Leftwich, acoustic bass; Jake Reed, drums/percussion; Pat Kelley, acoustic and elec. Guitar; Bob Sheppard, saxes/flute; Bob McChesney, trombone; Ron Stout, flugelhorn; Fabiana Passoni, guest vocalist.

“One thing that has been missing or limited from the jazz scene is a male vocal in the style of Jon Hendricks. On the first cut, Boustead offers the listener some extraordinarily creative lyrics, sung in a swift-paced, be-bop style. It conjures up the image and artistry of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. The following song is familiar, picked from the 1950s Era of doo-wop records popularized by crooner groups with eccentric stories, like “Love Potion #9.” This hit record was originally recorded by The Clovers. Several others covered this song, but I remember the Clovers rendition the best. Boustead’s arrangement is quite jazzy and far from the R&B roots of this Mike Stoller and Jerry Lieber composition, thanks to the creative Bill Cunliffe arrangements. “Coffee” is a lovely ballad extolling the plea of a gentleman asking someone out for a frothy latté or a cup of French Roast. Boustead’s lyrics are believable and compliment these melodies rhythmically. He exhibits a songwriting gift to be admired. “I Won’t Scat” shows me that indeed, he has studied the vocal somersaults of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, because he mentions them in this catchy tune with comedic poetry that pokes fun at ‘scatting.’ The addition of a B3 organ to this tune lifts it to another degree of hotness. An example of Boustead’s unique lyrical composing is in the ‘hook’ of this song.

“… I won’t scat, tell you flat, off the bat, Keep my hat, kiss a rat, but not that .. I’m just not that cat…”

Surrounded by arrangers that push the boundaries of jazz like Mitchel Forman, Bll Cunliffe and Pat Kelley, Boustead basks in their rich glow. Together they bring new perspectives to old standards like “Autumn Leaves” and, as mentioned above, the Rhythm and Blues tune, “Love Portion #9”. The band is tight, supportive and features some of the best musicians that Los Angeles has to offer. Ron Stout sounds amazing and engages us on his flugelhorn during a provocative solo on, “Love’s Carousel.”

I find Ron Boustead totally engrossing and fresh. Some shades of Dave Frishberg dance in these catchy lyrics, but Boustead’s voice is a lot smoother and less nasal. He’s pleasant to the creative palate and tasty with his honest, sometimes spicy, poetic stories. This album is scheduled for a Valentine’s Day release and would make a sweet surprise for you or your loved one.”

RON BOUSTEAD/Unlikely Valentine
Midwest Record by Chris Spector

“A swinging jazz vocalist who is only releasing his 4th album in over 30 years takes his inspiration from Mark Murphy (and some from Dave Frishberg) and finds sympathetic production ears in Bill Cunliffe and Mitchel Forman who round up some LA first call jazzbos for a rousing time that has a timeless feel that proudly exists in its own time zone. The kind of swinging set that needs to be made, jazz vocal fans have the kind of treat here that they seem to have to wait a little too long to come along anymore. Hot stuff.”


Jazz Mostly by Bruce Crowther

“Ron’s vocal sound brings depth and strength to this album and throughout he offers profound interpretations of the lyrics. Undoubtedly, this release places him in the front rank of male jazz singers around today.”


All About Jazz by C. Michael Bailey

“Boustead kills on “Love Potion #9” and swings “Autumn Leaves” into a nosebleed. He may be best in the hard bop “Along Came Betty.” …it is time to hear more from Ron Boustead.”


Music Man Blog by Robert Nicosia

“His performance on the tune he wrote, “Coffee” is outstanding in style and lyric and Ron’s vocal is perfect and “Sinatra-like”.  If you like straight ahead Jazz vocals, you will love this new CD.”


Mark Heard It First by Mark Christian Miller

“Each track has integrity, honesty, and is authentically successful… With the release of “Unlikely Valentine” [Ron Boustead] he reminds us that he also knows how to get inside a song and deliver an exceptional performance on his own terms.”



Amazon by Grady Harp

Unlikely Valentine  marks a return to his roots as a straight-ahead jazz lyricist and singer in the vein of Mel Torme and Mose Allison…. Echoes of bebop and cool, but rooted in modern jazz…”


The Jazz Page by Glenn Daniels

“…a thoroughly enjoyable musical excursion… Ron Boustead offers his entertaining take on love stories of songs with this effort. Unlikely Valentine is a nice mix of original tunes and clever twists on some less-traveled standards. Boustead brings a humorous flavor to a number of the tunes on the mostly upbeat production.”


Blogcritics by Susan Frances

“An integration of blue-eyed soul, modern bop, and vintage swing, vocalist Ron Boustead is adept at presenting a repertoire that merges Frank Sinatra with Michael McDonald. His fourth CD as a leader, Unlikely Valentineis a synthesis of Jazz Age exuberance with modern pop sensibilities.”

“Standard jazz idioms and adult contemporary pop models come together on Unlikely Valentine, making for a blend of complementing musical influences. It is a blend that is uniquely of Ron Boustead’s own concept, taking each of these influences further than previously conceived by artists.”


Audiophile Audition by Pierre Giroux

“Boustead dives into the tunes with an uncanny reflection of singer Mark Murphy… Versatility and flexibility seem to be watchwords that fit Boustead exceedingly well. So whether he is offering a tongue in cheek take on “I Won’t Scat” or an up tempo vocalese version of the Johnny Mercer’s “Autumn Leaves” Boustead is quite comfortable in the musical style choices he makes… Although Valentine’s Day may be over, this release is still a tasty treat.”


O’s Place Jazz Newsletter by Oscar Groomes

“Ron is a laid back crooner singing in front of a cool jazz band. We enjoyed it more with every track. Bob Sheppard (sax, fl), Rob McChesney (tb) and co-producers, pianists Bill Cuneliffe and Mitchel Foreman lead the star-studded band providing support to Boustead. Ron swings on the upbeat “Love Potion #9” and then seduces us with his baritone on “Coffee”.  Both are representative of what you’ll hear on Unlikely Valentine. The band also makes a strong statement broadening the appeal of the performance.”


JazzWeekly by George Harris

“He delivers a clever R&B curveball on “Autumn Leaves” and a 6/8 gospel groove to the doo wop classic “Love Potion #9” while bopping like he’s on Blue Note for Benny Golson’s “Along Came Betty.” His own pen is fun and creative with Ron Stout on “I Love My Wife,” funky yet dark on the clever “I Wont Scat” … Lots to like here on a plethora of levels.”


Jazz Music Archives by John Sanders

“Many singers who are more well-known than Boustead will release albums this year, but “Unlikely Valentine” is already one of my top picks for male vocal performance in 2017. Hopefully Ron will be releasing more albums in the future, he is a singer who deserves much wider recognition.”