Sassy and Ronnell Bright


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I had a lovely phone chat with Ronnell Bright last week. As is the case whenever we talk, the conversation turned to Sarah Vaughan. Ronnell accompanied Sassy in the late 1950s and early '60s before working with Nancy Wilson. As readers of this blog know, Ronnell is my favorite accompanist. I love his chord voicings and how he lushly supported singers without getting in their way. In the case of Vaughan, their choreography is remarkable. Ronnell is there but he never steals the show. And no one provided singers with song intros like Ronnell (dig what he does on September in the Rain). Ronnell and Vaughan were perfect for each other, and he looks back on those years fondly.

This clip will give you a sense of Ronnell's brilliance (he's on the Sweden and Holland segments from 1958; the pianist in 1964 was Kirk Stuart)....


And here's Ronnell with Nancy Wilson (dig the outro)...



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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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