- West Coast Blues
- Yours Is My Heart Alone
- It’s Only a Paper Moon
- My One & Only
- Reunion Blues
- Watch What Happens
- The more I See You
- Honey suckle Rose
- 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.