Wearing numerous hats and having a deep résumé with plenty of famous names on it is par for the course for top-notch pickup and session musicians.
Saxophonist Tim Ries went one better by cultivating a healthy solo career through a series of well-regarded solo albums, respected compositions and arrangements, and a sound Rolling Stone legend Keith Richards described as "amazing." A graduate of the University of North Texas and the University of Michigan, Ries made his recording debut in 1983 on Maynard Ferguson's Live from San Francisco. His love of rock and jazz was first put to record in 1989 when he appeared on Bob Belden's Straight to My Heart: The Music of Sting. Four years later he was a featured name on the album Regards, sharing headlining credits with Franck Amsallem. Moo Records released Ries' first solo album, Imaginary Time, in 1994. Is That So? -- which was also credited as Amsallem/Ries -- was from a 1990 date, but the more abstract record didn't see release until 1996, the same year that Ries appeared on the Grammy-winning Joe Henderson album Big Band. Universal Spirits arrived in 1998 and featured frequent Ries collaborator Billy Drummond on drums. Ries had already done session work for plenty of pop/rock acts by this time (Donald Fagen, Paul Simon, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder, David Lee Roth, and many others), but in 1999 he got his biggest offer yet. While performing for President Clinton at the White House, the cell phone he forgot to shut off began ringing. It was an offer to tour with the Rolling Stones, an offer Ries immediately accepted. After an extensive tour with the Stones, Alternate Side from 2001 reintroduced Ries as a solo artist, but a year later he became a founding member of the Prism Saxophone Quartet, whose debut, Real Standard Time, was released by the Innova label. Another tour with the Stones took up most of his time during 2003-2004 and inspired Ries to write his own jazz arrangements of Mick and Keith's compositions. The results were road-tested on an American tour and then released in 2005 as The Rolling Stones Project on the Concord label. ~ David Jeffries, Rovi