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Album Review

Love is the central theme of this two CD compilation by Ruby Braff, as he explores memorable songs from the Great American Songbook and jazz standards, too. Twenty of the tracks were recorded in 1984 during a duo session with Canadian pianist Gene DiNovi. The cocky, outspoken cornetist silenced any critics every time he brought his horn to his lips, whether it was a show tune like "Says My Heart," an old chestnut such as "Sweethearts on Parade," or an oft-recorded war-horse like "Oh, Lady be Good!" DiNovi provides the perfect foil for Braff, never overplaying his hand, and adds friendly vocals to several songs. Braff and DiNovi each contributed enjoyable originals to the date as well. An outstanding Canadian rhythm section consisting of guitarist Ed Bickert, bassist Don Thompson, and drummer Terry Clarke joins Braff on the shorter 1979 session, again sticking to a collection of standards and jazz compositions with love as the central theme. This trio, known for their memorable work in several live sessions (from 1975) with alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, also provide consistently swinging support for Braff. The cornetist is at his most playful in his interpretation of Fats Waller's "I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling," while his approach to "My Funny Valentine" is anything but sentimental as he works his magic in a brisk arrangement. Any fan of Ruby Braff will be delighted with this reissue, which is also a worthwhile introduction to anyone not familiar with the cornetist's work.


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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The Canadian Sessions, Ruby Braff
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