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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Brown’s Great Big Band: Kayak

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Not to be confused with the late, legendary bassist of the same name, San Francisco-based bandleader/arranger Ray Brown, an ex-trumpeter with the Stan Kenton and Full Faith and Credit big bands, drives his own nineteen-piece ensemble populated by the Bay Area's A-list musicians. Brown, whose percussionist father pioneered jazz education in the public schools of Long Beach, New York over seven decades ago, steadfastly maintains the legacy of the recently-deceased Canadian composer/arranger Rob McConnell in his deft yet swinging charts of Great American Songbook and contemporary jazz standards. Cole Porter's “So In Love" (including an interpolation of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Brown Jr.: Friends and Family

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A solid pedigree does not necessarily guarantee talent, but in the case of Ray Brown Jr. it clearly has, which makes Friends and Family even more disappointing. Brown has an evocative baritone and an impeccable mastery over the art of singing that rivals the best classically trained opera performers. His delivery on this record, however, is monotonous and varies little from song to song. The presence of different guest artists is the only differentiator among the tracks. The material is lightweight, consisting mainly of old pop standards and some easy listening jazzy numbers with an occasional jazz ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Very Tall Band: Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson: What's Up

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What's Up is the addendum to Telarc's 1999 release of Live at the Blue Note, cataloging a holiday performance of elder statesmen pianist Oscar Peterson, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, and bassist Ray Brown with the support of relative youngster drummer Karriem Riggins. Recorded on Thanksgiving weekend, 1998 at New York City's Blue Note Club, these performances are fortuitous as the three principles have performed together from time to time for the past five decades, building impressive discographies together and separately. Additionally, as these performances were recorded, the sun was setting on the trio, two of whom have since passed away (Milt ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Ray Brown: The Final Concerts & The Three

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Oscar Peterson/Ray Brown/Ed Thigpen The Final Concerts Limelight/Moon-Gambit 2006 Joe Sample/Ray Brown/Shelly Manne The Three East Wind-Test Of Time 2006

To even merely mention all of Ray Brown's accomplishments in the music world would take several pages. It would have to begin with him being influenced by Duke Ellington's amazing bassist Jimmy Blanton, through the bebop years, all the groups he led and coled on the West Coast to his work ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Milt Jackson & Ray Brown '77

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Milt Jackson and Ray Brown Milt Jackson & Ray Brown '77 Eagle Vision 2004

The combination of Norman Granz and the Montreux Jazz Festival was a strong one. The music that Granz presented at the festival had some top notch performers. Several of the concerts are now available as part of the Norman Granz Jazz in Montreux series on DVD. There are several releases, among them performances by Mary Lou Williams, Benny Carter, Roy Eldridge, Ray Bryant and Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie. All have been restored and remastered.

Milt Jackson and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Brown: Walk On

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Ray Brown (1926-2002) played the bass the same way he lived: with style, a peerless vivacity and a boundless generosity of spirit. Unlike most bass players, when Brown was at the helm the listener always had the sense of his being a true leader, not merely a timekeeper and occasional soloist. The final testament to his brilliance is Walk On , a two-disc set featuring his last studio recordings, with pianist Geoffrey Keezer and drummer Karriem Riggins and previously unreleased live recordings. Brown's arrangement of “America the Beautiful" leads off the first disc, beginning with a somber plucked ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Ray Brown: The Telarc Years

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Born October 13, 1926 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, preeminent jazz bassist Ray Brown passed away on July 2, 2002. His career as one of jazz’s foremost players spanned 58 years and has left a recording legacy of literally thousands of albums. His career began early, as a bebopper with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, and continued from that auspicious start at an always remarkable level of excellence. As a member of the famed Oscar Peterson Trio, Brown toured tirelessly for over 15 years. A seemingly endless innovator and unsurpassable improviser, Brown’s contributions to the development of the bass from a predominantly ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Brown: Walk On

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Ray Brown’s music needs no introduction. Just as the liner notes to Walk On state, no one played bass like Ray Brown. Even if you don’t know it, you’re probably already aware of his work, for Brown stands as one of the most recorded jazz musicians of our times. His career spanned five decades. He weathered every major stylistic change in jazz’s tumultuous and rapid development, remaining a constant figure as leader, sideman, composer, and bass master. As most fans are already sadly aware, Ray Brown passed away last year, depriving the world of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Brown Trio: Walk On

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Recorded in January 2000, Walk On was the latest release by bassist Ray Brown before his passing in July 2002. Maynard Ferguson once remarked that he was attracted to jazz because jazz musicians always seemed to enjoy what they were playing. The sense of joy is present throughout Walk On.

“America the Beautiful” begins with Brown playing that most-famous melody on bass. Suddenly, Geoffrey Keezer and Karriem Riggins join in with kinetic piano and drum improvisations, leaving the melody behind and taking the song out. The rest of the disc stays at this high level of group interaction and cohesion. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Brown: Walk On

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The previous "last" Ray Brown recording was the well-received Ray Brown, Monty Alexander, Russell Malone . Now that finality appears a bit premature, as the last trio date for the late great bassist was actually Walk On. Like the former release, this is a two-disc set, the second of which is made up of previously unreleased takes from Brown's most recent Telarc releases. Walk On was recorded during the same period as Some of My Best Friends Are...The Trumpet Players and ...The Guitarists , in January 2000. The disc features a quintessential Ray Brown pianist, Geoff Keezer, and drummer Karriem ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Brown Trio: Live From New York To Tokyo

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This welcome historical twofer is comprised of two very fine trio recordings, each with Ray Brown and Gene Harris and each using a different drummer.

The Red Hot Ray Brown Trio (Concord, 1987) employed Mickey Roker and was recorded at the Blue Note in New York City, November-December 1985. Bam, Bam, Bam (Concord, 1989) was recorded with Jeff Hamilton on drums at the Concord Jazz Festival, Kan-I Hoken Hall, Tokyo in December 1988.

Both recordings included blistering Harris interpretations such as his Gospel-infected gallop through the ballad “Have You Met Miss Jones?” and the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Brown (and friends): Some Of My Best Friends Are...Singers

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It has been said that you can get by with a little help from your friends. Now, we will all have to get by without one of our best.

Ray Brown was one of the most admired and most beloved bass men of his age. On this new compilation, some of his most talented friends pay tribute by joining the late great on a dozen of his favorite songs.

From Nancy King's whispery “But Beautiful" to Dee Dee Bridgewater's airy “More Than You Know," to Kevin Mahogany's smoothly grounded “The Party's Over," the vocal range nearly matches the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Brown, Monty Alexander, Russell Malone: Ray Brown, Monty Alexander, Russell Malone

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At the risk of being cloying and maudlin, one knows that all good things must come to an end. But you don't have to like it. This his final coda, a two CD-set for Telarc, is the last known recording of one of the most prolific, rewarding (especially for his legions of listeners) and successful in jazz history. Reading Ray Brown's discography is about the same as reading the history of recorded jazz. To try and select one or even two handfuls of the “best of Ray Brown" would not only be patronizing, but an exercise in futility and not ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Brown: Ray Brown, Monty Alexander, Russell Malone

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The last word from the great Ray Brown...

George Brett, former infielder for the Kansas City Royals once said that he wanted to end his career with a ground out to first base. He reasoned that this ground out best represented what most often happened when the bat hit the ball. If this reasoning can be extrapolated to the late Ray Brown and his recordings, then what Mr. Brown spent most of his time doing was making sublime music. I do not think that Ray Brown, Monty Alexander, Russell Malone is qualitatively or quantitatively different from his previous Telarc or ...



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