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Being With You: Ruby Braff Remember Louis Armstrong

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Album Review

Although billed as a tribute to Louis Armstrong, this 1996 recording by the great cornetist Ruby Braff is not all it seems to be. Several of the swing standards (such as "I Never Knew," "Little One" which Braff sings" and "Royal Garden Blues") do not have much to do with Armstrong; there are no attempts to pay direct homage to any of his recordings, and the arrangements (by Braff and trombonist Dan Barrett) look more toward Count Basie and Lester Young than to Satch. In addition, there is no explanation of the "Being With You" subtitle, nor any song with that name. The lineup of musicians is impressive: cornetist Jon-Erik Kellso, Barrett, Scott Robinson on baritone and clarinet, veteran tenorman Jerry Jerome, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, pianist Johnny Varro, bassist Bob Haggart and drummer Jim Gwin; the sidemen get almost as much solo space as the leader. Braff plays well, and the overall results are pleasing but not quite up to the level of the cornetist's more significant dates.


Born: March 16, 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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Being With You: Ruby Braff Remember Louis Armstrong, Ruby Braff
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