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Ray Bryant: North of the Border

C. Michael Bailey By

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New Jazz Chamber Music from None Other than Ray Bryant.

A new myth is carefully woven in the fabric of producer Joel Dorn's career. This one involves a trash sack of cassette tapes collected by pianist Ray Bryant's sound engineer of live Bryant performances over the past number of years. Out of this entire trash sack, Dorn found about 50 performances that Bryant liked. Dorn further narrowed this down to about ten performances for release. The first of these was the release of Somewhere in France (LabelM "Live", 5701, 2000). This recording captured Bryant in a solo piano recital that compares favorably with his Alone at Montreux (32 Jazz 32128, 1999).

North of the Border contains the typical Ray Bryant fare. That is to say, precision soul-jazz and Be Bop playing, this time with trio members Harry Anderson and Winard Harper. Bryant covers a lot of the same territory he covered in a solo fashion on Somewhere in France. Reprised here are "Slow Freight", "Django", and "Good Morning Heartache". These songs swing hard with the rhythm section underpinning, offering a great addition to Bryant's performance repertoire. "Lil' Darlin'", "Nardis", and "Moanin'" rock. Recorded at the Montreal Jazz Bistro in 1997, this is contemporary Ray Bryant.

Joel Dorn hints in the liner notes that he will be releasing a new Ray Bryant disc every year. Let's hope so.

Title: North of the Border | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Label M

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