157

The Mitchell and Ruff Duo: Brazilian Trip/Campus Concert

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
The Mitchell and Ruff Duo: Brazilian Trip/Campus Concert In retrospect, Mitchell and Ruff were probably victims of label marketing. The first session featured on this two-fer, Brazilian Trip, was more than likely an attempt to capture a piece of the bossa nova pie; the second was released just when jazz began to find a niche on the college campuses. Had the duo found a little more guidance from an excellent producer, they may have turned in some exceptional playing. As it stands, both records feature passable jazz of limited range.

The first session featured here was recorded after a trip to Brazil, where Mitchell and Ruff traveled to soak up the culture and recruit a few musicians to record an album. This sure sounds like a recipe for a sure thing, but it never really works. For one thing, although the songs are all composed by Brazilian natives, the tunes aren’t really all that good. The other pitfall is that adding guitar and congas doesn’t necessarily guarantee that traditional Brazilian music will be played, and at times the group seems to teeter between samba rhythms and more traditional fare. The syncopation is stiff, as if Mitchell was playing with oven mitts, and where the music should gently swing, it seems too choppy to be effective. Brazilian Trip is an excellent example of what happens when artists take their musical aspirations too seriously; they end up biting off more than they can chew.

The second of the two records is far better, featuring serviceable, but not exceptional, renditions of standard tunes. “Red Sails In The Sunset” and “Little Boy Blue” spotlight the conservatory background of the duo; both are impressionistic pieces in the style of Ravel and are quite lovely. There are also adequate renditions of several standards, where Mitchell sounds remarkably like Oscar Peterson, but the two falter on the more tricky pieces, like “Round Midnight”. Ruff, who had a field day with the French horn on the previous session, is a ghostly presence here, adding depth with his bass and little else.

Despite the fact that this session is merely average, Collectables Records should once again be commended for reissuing a record of obscure material that surely is of marginal interest. Surely someone out there has been looking for these records for years and will be glad that they are available. Kudos to a label willing to take that risk.


Track Listing: Tanto Canto; Deixa Pra La; Nao Deixa; Chuva; Sonhando; Ah Voce; Nos; Companheiro; Sem Mais Chorar; Nada Mais; They Can

Personnel: Dwike Mitchell-piano; Willie Ruff-French horn, bass.

Year Released: 1957 | Record Label: Collectables | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Friday Night in San Francisco" CD/LP/Track Review Friday Night in San Francisco
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: September 4, 2016
Read "Vyamanikal" CD/LP/Track Review Vyamanikal
by Duncan Heining
Published: July 17, 2016
Read "Vortex Generation Mechanisms" CD/LP/Track Review Vortex Generation Mechanisms
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 25, 2016
Read "The Pauper And The Magician" CD/LP/Track Review The Pauper And The Magician
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "Slag" CD/LP/Track Review Slag
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "The Music of Enrico Pieranunzi" CD/LP/Track Review The Music of Enrico Pieranunzi
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!