LABELS: Telarc Jazz
PERFORMER: Ray Brown (b), Geoff Keezer (p), Karriem Riggins (d), Terence Blanchard, Jon Faddis, Roy Hargrove, James Morrison, Nicholas Payton, Clark Terry (t)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-83495
For many musicians’ money, Ray Brown is the perfect bassist. Since the Forties, when he started out with Dizzy Gillespie, Brown’s robust, dependable rhythm has supplied the greatest singers and soloists with pace and space in equal measure.
This latest in the ‘Friends’ series, following earlier sessions with saxists and pianists, gives six horn players the lead with two numbers apiece. Roy Hargrove kicks off with a startling take on ‘Our Delight’, contrasting its brightness later with a velvety ‘Stairway to the Stars’. Jon Faddis leads a delicious slow drag through the classic ‘Bag’s Groove’ saving his trademark, stratospheric notes for the afro-hued ‘Original Jones’.
Veteran Clark Terry blows the blues blithely and lithely, trading bars, two-handed, with flugelhorn and muted trumpet. Young Nicholas Payton, surely the most complete trumpeter of his generation, gives a gently compelling reading of ‘Violets For Your Furs’ that is pure gold.
Fellow New Orleans man Terence Blanchard bustles importantly through ‘I’m Getting Sentimental Over You’ but closes the set with a peaceful and restrained version of Benny Goodman’s sign-off ‘Goodbye’. Garry Booth