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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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Crotchet

SUMMERTIME

Ray Brown Trio with Ulf Wakenius

TELARC JAZZ CD-83430

 

 

 

 

  1. West Coast Blues
  2. Summertime
  3. Topsy
  4. Yours Is My Heart Alone
  5. It’s Only a Paper Moon
  6. My One & Only
  7. Reunion Blues
  8. Watch What Happens
  9. The more I See You
  10. Honey suckle Rose
  11. Cakes’ Blues

 

Ulf Wakenius – Guitar

Geoff Keezer – Piano

Ray Brown – Bass

Gregory Hutchinson – Drums

All arrangements Ray Brown

I had only just finished waxing lyrical about the sound of the classic jazz trio with guitar, on a Joe Pass album, when along comes this superb example from the Ray Brown Trio. It was recorded around the same time as the Pass album, this one in August 1997. Geoff Keezer is a magnificent pianist and with the phenomenal Ray Brown and Gregory Hutchinson to complete the trio and guitarist Ulf Wakenius as a bonus, I knew I would enjoy this record.

In no way does it disappoint, Ulf Wakenius is from the school of real guitar players, nothing ugly, just neat swinging ensemble playing and solos in the classic Wes Montgomery style. Geoff Keezer supports the soloists perfectly and is himself a superb soloist, a modern version of Nat Cole no less. Far from being a copy however, he has listened to more recent developments in piano jazz and included them in his playing, but without ever forgetting that the idea is to swing!

Ray Brown’s arrangements give ever tune, even very familiar ones a lift, The More I See You is a good example, the tempo is faster than most of the pop versions and it really leaps along with great solos by all concerned.

Thankfully when Ray Brown passed on, he left us a legacy of trio recordings some with guests and some without, every one of which is a model of how jazz was intended to be played. Geoff Keezer has featured on piano on many of these albums and every time I hear him, I like what he does more and more. He is always inventive in his solos, which often take in the unexpected and sustain interest from start to finish. Ray himself was probably the finest bass player that the world of jazz has ever known, he produced an individual sound that made him immediately identifiable and he could swing a rhythm section like no one else. If an example is needed listen to the lift he gets on Cakes’ Blues.

Eddie Durham’s Topsy is a tune I had forgotten about and it was good to hear it again.

The band’s version of Watch What Happens is another fine track on an album that does not have a bad track on it.

Don Mather

 



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