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The Night Watchman. Ruby Braff may very well be the conscience of jazz. He has been performing for fifty years, always at a high level. His style is of an earlier time as is his instrument. He performs on the instrument of Joe King Oliver and stays mostly in the lower register. His performance is timeless. In no way does it sound old fashioned. A treasure is what Ruby Braff is. With Strings is nominally a tribute to Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. The songs are from that era. This repertoire is not that of Bebop. It is of a simpler time. “Swinging on a Star” and “Pennies from Heaven” are beautiful vehicles for the simple lyricism of Mr. Braff. They are songs that while simple seem hard to perform well. Perhaps this is because of a lack of fine touch. Mr. Braff’s touch with these American treasures is light and respectful, like the friendship between two old friends. Braff records with two different groups on both sides of the pond for this outing. His respective rhythm sections and orchestras plushly support him in both venues. With Strings quickly follows Being with You (Arbors 19163), which as selected by Down Beat magazine as one of the best jazz recordings of the last decade. This disc is certainly of this quality.
Track Listing: Swinging On A Star; Pennies From Heaven; Love Walked In; Old Folks; Goodnight, My Love; Moonlight Becomes You; I Married An Angel; Please; Love Thy Neighbor; April In Paris; Go Fly A Kite; In The Wee Small Hours; All Alone; I Get Along Without You Very Well; You
Personnel: Ruby Braff: Cornet; Brian Lemon, John Bunch: Piano; Len Walker, Buck Pizzarelli: Guitar; Lenie Bush, Michael Moore: Bass; Terry Jenkins, Kenny Washington; Drums; Neil Richardson, Tommy Newsom: Arranger, Conductor.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.