Ray Brown: The Concord Jazz Heritage Series, Ray Brown
>From previous recordings made between 1975 and 1992, this compilation is part of a 29-part series celebrating Concord’s 25 years of mainstream jazz support. Ray Brown’s soft, yet clear bass pizzicato includes a vocal style that swings like the Count Basie straight-ahead blues mood. The trio with Gene Harris and Jeff Hamilton is represented by four tracks; they add Ralph Moore on "Ralph’s Boogie." It’s always a pleasure to listen to Herb Ellis, who appears in several different combinations. Without a drummer, Ellis and Brown rounded out the Oscar Peterson Trio from 1953 to 1958. The absence of percussion, of course, means that the trio makes do with tools of its own to supply a rhythm. Brown, Ellis, and Monty Alexander are included on this session from a 1987 recording of "High Heel Sneakers."
The compilation consists mostly of live session dates that include music everyone enjoys, from the blue-collar hard-working lament of "The Real Blues" to the Duke Ellington standards and the Henry Mancini, Johnny Mandel, and Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke conversations. Ray Brown expresses with chorded accompaniment, slap-bass punctuation, lyrical phrases and expressive solo journeys. His melodic ballad delivery of "A Time for Love" carries the same sensitivity as an expressive vocal performance. Brown’s arrangement for Billy Strayhorn’s "Take the ‘A’ Train" turns out nice and slow with Harris’s penchant for octave doubling showing itself prominently. Brown strolls through the standard confidently and infuses a relaxed ambience. "Sweets" Edison, so-named by Lester Young because of his sweet tone, teams up with Plas Johnson on "After You’ve Gone" to trade ideas in conversation and to express their combined thoughts. Highly Recommended.
Track Listing: Days of Wine and Roses; The Flintstones Theme; The Real Blues; Gumbo Hump; After You
Personnel: Ray Brown- bass; Herb Ellis, John Collins- guitar; Harry "Sweets" Edison- trumpet; Plas Johnson, Ralph Moore- tenor saxophone; Monty Alexander, Hank Jones, Gene Harris, Jimmy Rowles, George Duke- piano; Dave Grusin- keyboards; Jake Hanna, Jeff Hamilton, Gerryck King, Jimmie Smith- drums.