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Braff Plays Wimbledon: The First Set

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Album Review

Cornetist Ruby Braff sound fine on this set for the British label Zephyr. Most of the selections find him taking passionate and typically lyrical solos on swing standards in a quintet with pianist Brian Lemon, guitarist Howard Alden, bassist Dave Green and drummer Allan Ganley. A few numbers add Warren Vache on flugelhorn and trombonist Roy Williams, but perhaps due to too much mutual respect, few fireworks fly. One would hope that Braff and Vache would match wits against each other, but this is largely Braff's show. Still, the music overall (which is highlighted by "Someday Sweetheart," "I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling" and "China Boy") should please trad jazz and mainstream collectors.

Biography

Born: 16 March 1927 in Boston, MA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the great swing/Dixieland cornetists, Ruby Braff went through long periods of his career unable to find work because his music was considered out-of-fashion, but his fortunes improved by the 1970s. A very expressive player who in later years liked to build his solos up to a low note, Braff's playing was instantly recognizable within seconds. Braff mostly worked around Boston in the late '40s. He teamed up with Pee Wee Russell when the clarinetist was making a comeback (they recorded live...
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