(Ruby Braff, Cornet; Bill Charlap, Piano; Jake Hanna, Drums; Dick
Hyman, Piano [Tracks 7-9 only]; Bucky Pizzarelli, Guitar [Tracks 7-9
Arbors Records ARCD 19260, 50:26 ****:
Ruby Braff, one of the great swing trumpeters of mainstream jazz passed
away in February 2003. What appears to be his final recording session
is covered in this Arbors Records gem.
Six of the tracks on this CD were recorded just two days past 9/11. The
other three tracks were recorded six months earlier at a Florida
celebration of Ruby’s 74th birthday and expand the trio to a quintet
that feature the duo pianos of Dick Hyman and Bill Charlap along with
the veteran guitarist, Bucky Pizzarelli.
The CD opens with It’s Wonderful, a Stuff Smith composition, that
features Bill Charlap taking the melody at a loping pace. Ruby’s
Armstrong- like cornet compliments Charlap’s lines nicely. On Lullaby
of the Leaves, Ruby has fun with smears and low guttural cries. Charlap
contributes to the mood with an easygoing accompaniment and Jake
Hanna’s brushwork fits right in.
You Brought a New Kind of Love continues the fun as Braff and Charlap
take turns in playing with the melody. The Basie composition Blue and
Sentimental is a highlight for Charlap, whose right hand runs glisten.
The final three tracks from Braff’s 74th Birthday celebration are a
joy. You’re Driving Me Crazy features Bucky Pizzarelli being egged on
by Braff and Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is taken at a slow
Basie pace. The CD concludes with When I Fall in Love in which Braff’s
warm and gorgeous tone is matched by both Hyman and Charlap playing
together. Braff passed away less than 18 months after the Nola Studios
9/13/01 recording session. He was a class act to the end and this
Arbors release is a fine testament to his career.
Tracks: It’s Wonderful, Them There Eyes, Lullaby of the Leaves, I Know
That You Know, You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me, Blue and
Sentimental, You’re Driving Me Crazy, Between the Devil and the Deep
Blue Sea, When I Fall in Love
– Jeff Krow