Ray Draper: Tuba Sounds
The tunes on the date are a well-chosen mix of originals with a single standard thrown in as a nod to tradition. Draper’s potbellied horn is surprisingly agile on the changes, particularly on his own numbers “Jackie’s Dolly” and “Mimi’s Interlude.” Plump and viscous, it’s a sound that skates along the bedrock of the bass register while still managing to fire off quick salvos of notes. Young stays fairly understated, but still chimes in occasionally with fine solos, as on the latter composition and some intriguing exchanges, as on the opening “Terry Anne.” McLean’s devilish alto, brimming with youthful bravado, routinely dances rings around the leader’s fleshy figures. The rhythm section is usually relegated to its regular chores, but Waldron finds space both for a tune and several solo breaks.
Draper recorded several other dates as a leader and parlayed some work as a sideman for employers like McLean, Coltrane and others throughout the remainder of the 50s. The 60s and 70s also afforded him sporadic dates with folks like Archie Shepp and, but the occasional returns to music were always short-lived. Listening in on the promise he so evidently displays here it’s a shame Draper wasn’t able to persevere.
Record Label: Prestige Records