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Recorded in 1993 before a live audience somewhere in France, this session was sitting around in Ray Bryant's home on a cassette tape that the sound man had handed him after the performance. The artist hadn't had time to listen to it; he hadn't even realized he was being recorded until the performance was over.
The session turns out to be a significant milestone that documents this unique pianist. As a solo piano performance, the music is unobstructed. The sound is well done. But what makes this one special is that Bryant's comments to the audience are captured on the recording as well. He was candid and offered considerable insight.
The pianist's distinctive bass lines appear in each of the styles he performs here. Whether walking the blues, bouncing a boogie-woogie, forcefully "preaching" a gospel piece, or simply interpreting a lullaby, Bryant's romping, two-hand approach remains unique. His theme song, "Slow Freight," makes a lasting impression.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.