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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 in 1979, Braff and Sutton had been working the boards for more than a combined 70 years. After all this time what can one write about their performing. They have not lost an ounce of their strength, power and melody. Critics, at least the good ones, have stopped trying to pigeon hole them into special categories, traditional jazz for the cornet player and stride for Sutton. What nonsense! They are men for all seasons, adept at all elements of mainstream jazz. On this album, they are talking to each other, sharing their translating of their special language, so we can all listen in.
The other two members of the quartet, Jack Lesberg on bass and the incomparable Gus Johnson on drums, complement the two without being either intrusive oor shy. Listen to Johnson's cymbals kick off "Shoe Shine Boy". Virtually all of the music played at this session is familiar stuff. But there's no lack of exuberance and freshness. For those who occasionally must be happily reminded just how great this music can be, this album is an absolute must.
Track Listing: Shoe Shine Boy; What Is There to Say; Tain't So Honey, Tain't So; Sweethearts on Parade; I Ain't Got Nobody; You Can Depend on Me; Sunday; Big Butter and Egg Man; I Wished on the Moon; I'm Crazy `Bout My Baby; Little Rock Getaway; I Would Do Anything for You; Get Out and Get Under the Moon; Think Well of Me; Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea; Tain't Nobody's Bizness if I Do; Royal Garden Blues; Deep Summer Music; Dinah
Personnel: Ruby Braff - Cornet; Ralph Sutton - Piano; Jack Lesberg - Bass; Gus Johnson - Drums
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.