A native of Washington D.C., pianist Reuben Brown seems to have made a few records back in the early ‘90s and then disappeared, taken off the scene by some illness alluded to in the liners to this set. In addition to those sides cut in 1994 that appeared on his debut trio date for SteepleChase, Ice Scape, come the fifteen solo tracks included here. Recorded with exceptional clarity, all of the subtle nuances that make up Brown’s mercurial technique come shining through.
Be it a ballad, where his sincere interpretations are affecting, or faster paced material, Brown convincingly tells his story in a fashion that is never showy but which communicates directly with the listener. He evidently likes the piano’s lower register, as his tasty rumblings on “Beautiful Love” make clear. His bebop chops are also in top shape, as he turns “I Believe In You” into the silk purse that one might never think possible. All but two performances push the four-minute mark and maybe that’s why this set, along with the previously mentioned attributes, makes such a strong initial impression. None of the meanderings that often accompany solo discs are to be found here and if Brown makes his way back soon, one can only wonder what future treasures may be in the works.
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