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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ruby Braff/Pizzarellis: C'est Magnifique!

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It's not surprising that Tony Bennett, as well as the late Frank Sinatra, was a fan of the cornetist Ruby Braff (1927-2003). Like those singers, Braff had a life-long affair with the canon of (mostly) American songs known as pop standards. And like them, Braff brought fine-tuned musicality, craft and consummate artistry to interpreting that canon. He also brought a conspiratorial intimacy to his performances, as though he was letting you in on some special nuance or secret that only his parsing of the melody could reveal. This album brings us Braff's final studio recordings, done in ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Bugle Call: Clark Terry's Live at Marihans & Ruby Braff's Controlled Nonchalance: Live at the Regattabar, Volume 2

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Clark Terry Live at Marihans Chiaroscuro 2005 Ruby Braff Controlled Nonchalance: Live at the Regattabar, Volume 2 Arbors Records 2005

At the invitation of the Bern International Jazz Festival in 2004, trumpeter Clark Terry assembled a 17-piece band consisting exclusively of his present and former students, ranging from 40ish trombonist Conrad Herwig to teenaged drummer Marcus Gilmore. The first disc of Live at Marihans showcases highlights by the band, drawn primarily from Terry's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rubyana: Amazing Grace/Rubyana/Epistrophy

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These three discs share the same players: Rubyana on flute, Al MacDowell on bass, Sharaye White on vocals, Frank Marino on drums, Yusef Ali on conga drums, and Eddie Boubay on timbales. I must confess when I read the makeup of the group I suspected the music might be somewhat one- dimensional, but for the most part I was wrong. Amazing Grace contains five versions of the tune. The music is of course a spiritual, but strangely brought to worldwide renown by this band of Scottish pipers. A rich, heavy groove composed of drums, conga drums and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ruby Braff Quartet: Watch What Happens

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This review also serves as a tribute and an obituary for a marvelous jazz cornetist. Ruby Braff died on February 9, 2003 in North Chatham, Mass., at age 75. The cause of death was given as “complications related to emphysema and asthma." The cornetist, born in Boston on March 16, 1927, said that his major influence was Louis Armstrong. He had no formal education beyond high school; he said that he attended “Louis Armstrong University." Braff was an outspoken and diffident person. Friends said that you always knew where he stood on a particular issue, sometimes even when you didn't ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ruby Braff: I Hear Music

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Ruby Braff has compiled an album of sheer pleasure in quintet work. His well shaped cornet sound, and the interplay of the instruments through each cut is a shining example of mastery of pacing and a sense of timing. Within each of the cuts is a conversation between the instruments where each one says their version of the melody in turn. Cut 2, a medley of “Chicago” and “My Kind of Town” also has hints of Loesser’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Other fascinating takes on classic tunes include “Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home,” “Wouldn’t it be Loverly” and “I ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ruby Braff and Ralph Sutton: R & R

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Two Like Minds...

Two classic traditional jazz recordings have finally made it to compact disc. The Ralph Sutton—Ruby Braff Duet (Chaz Jazz 101-2. 1979) and The Ralph Sutton—Ruby Braff Quartet (Chaz Jazz 102-2, 1979) have been re-released on a single Chiaroscuro CD— R & R: Ruby Braff and Ralph Sutton. This disc is a welcome addition to the digital age as this is the jazz of the 1920s and ‘30s as played by two of the greatest practitioners of the subgenera. The late 1970s was not a prime time for traditional jazz, but, in spite of this, Sutton and Braff ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ralph Sutton and Ruby Braff: R & R

Whether it be taking the time to address all the nuances of “Little Rock Getaway" by playing this Joe Sullivan classic at a much slower pace than usual, or mildly swinging and shaking “Big Butter and Egg Man", or splitting the rhythm on “Tain't So Honey, Taint So", the style and substance of the music created by these two giants is immediately recognizable. Only the horns of Harry “Sweet" Edison and Don Fagerquist approach the lyricism of Braff. Here he sticks with the cornet, making that short stumpy piece of brass sound sweet and mellow. When this session was recorded ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ruby Braff: Music For The Still Of The Night

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Ruby Braff has been so good for so long that it’s easy to take him for granted. He suffers from what a friend of mine calls the “Zoot Sims Syndrome" a situation in which another great release is not given its due because what did you expect? Well, Ruby Braff keeps cranking them out: creative performances with inspired bands. He also keeps attracting (like Sims consistently did) some of the best musicians jazz has to offer, his latest recording Music For The Still Of The Night is no exception with a cast that includes John Bunch, Howard Alden, Michael Moore, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ruby: Altered and Proud: The Short-Staffed Remix

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Tucked in amongst beats and textures, Ruby calls out, “Play with me!" And indeed that's what eleven different knob-twiddlers have done with Ruby's latest release, Short-Staffed at the Gene Pool (recently reviewed in these pages). Short-Staffed overflowed with upbeat textures and honeyed vocal hooks--ideal fodder to feed the machine. Altered and Proud ends up a tidy operation with a generous helping of styles, from retro to futuristic, from carefully arranged to chaotically deranged.

The highlights:

Kid 606 defies all categorization with his most righteous trip to the (mental) hospital on “Lilypad." Declaring Jihad on convention, this piece shimmers with erratic ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ruby: Altered and Proud: The Short-Staffed Remix

Read "Altered and Proud: The Short-Staffed Remix" reviewed by

Tucked in amongst beats and textures, Ruby calls out, “Play with me!" And indeed that's what eleven different knob-twiddlers have done with Ruby's previous release, Short-Staffed at the Gene Pool.Short-Staffed overflowed with upbeat textures and honeyed vocal hooks--ideal fodder to feed the machine. Altered and Proud ends up a tidy operation with a generous helping of styles, from retro to futuristic, from carefully arranged to chaotically deranged.

The highlights:

Kid 606 defies all categorization with his most righteous trip to the (mental) hospital on “Lilypad." Declaring Jihad on convention, this piece shimmers with erratic high-end detail and sliced-up ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ralph Sutton/Ruby Braff: Ralph Sutton Quartet Featuring Ruby Braff, Vol. 4

This release is the final chapter of a four-volume undertaking by Storyville Records to put to disk live performances of stride pianist Ralph Sutton and his guests at his wife's Allene (Sunnie) Anderson's club, in the ski resort of Aspen, Colorado. For this set the headliner was cornetist Ruby Braff who must have been energized by the mountain air for he was in fine fettle.

Consummate professionalism, as well as good jazz, prevails through the more than 60 minutes in this disc. Even in 1968, yhe principals had been around for a while and it shows in the manner they ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ruby: Short-Staffed at the Gene Pool

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This one is pure indulgence. Sit back, get comfortable, and enjoy Short-Staffed at the Gene Pool. Ruby is the moniker adopted by vocalist Lesley Rankine (of grrl-power Silverfish fame) and producer Mark Walk (Pigface, Skinny Puppy). The duo offers pop vocals with a twist: steady insistence on the groove. Rather than sticking to a certain style, Ruby summons the total package--from straight-up rock to disco/lounge, from tricky funk to Latin grooves. Rankine, whose voice is seductively smooth, spans the range from throaty swing to crisp vocal percussion. Her approach is like rap soaked in honey: the chant and the saunter ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ruby Braff: Ruby Braff With Strings: In the Wee Small Hours in New York and London

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The Night Watchman. Ruby Braff may very well be the conscience of jazz. He has been performing for fifty years, always at a high level. His style is of an earlier time as is his instrument. He performs on the instrument of Joe King Oliver and stays mostly in the lower register. His performance is timeless. In no way does it sound old fashioned. A treasure is what Ruby Braff is. With Strings is nominally a tribute to Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. The songs are from that era. This repertoire is not that of Bebop. It is of a ...



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