Ruby Braff

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Play List

(Ruby Braff, trumpet; Dave McKenna, piano; Al Lucas, bass; Buzzy Drootin, drums)

 

(Recorded July 1956))

Dancing In The Dark

Blue Prelude

Why Was I Born?

Blue (and Broken-Hearted)

If I Could Be With You

I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby

Louisiana

It's Wonderful

Almost Like Being In Love

Lover Come Back To Me

I Must Have That Man

 

Album Notes (partial):

 

Dancing In The Dark, which opens the first side, shows Ruby's remarkable facility in the lower register. Here, as at other points in the session, he hits a low F concert, not for synthetic effect, but simply because it happened to fit into the improvisational thought of the moment. After a swinging McKenna chorus, Ruby comes back with Harmon mute in hand to take it out. The song is a Schwartz-Dietz hit of 1951.

 

Blue Prelude, Woddy Herman's old theme, written by Gordon Jenkins and Joe Bishop in 1933, features Ruby out of tempo, with cup mute, establishing an impressively sombor mood.

 

Why Was I Born?, a hit of 1929, shows some particularly forceful and fleet work by McKenna.

 

Blue is a song Benny Goodman recorded as far back as 1928. Ruby and Dave keep this one simple and sincere: note particularly the groovy two-bar ending.

 

If I Could Be With You, a song older jazz fans associate with the great Louis Armstrong treatment, again shows some fine lower register Braff and some nice chording by McKenna.

 

I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby, one of the lesser-known Fats Waller songs, is introduced by Ruby with Harmon mute. Dave again shares the footage until the bridge of the last chorus, when Buzzy helps himself to eight bars.

 

Louisiana offers guitarist Herman a moment in the spotlight with a four-bar introduction. On this one, too, you will find one of Ruby's rare attempts at organization, in the shape of a little unison gimmick he worked out with Dave.

 

It's Wonderful is a too-long neglected tune published in 1938 and not to be confused with the Gershwin 'S Wonderful. Introducing the melody, Ruby is in wonderfully lyrical form, both muted and open, on this slow but rhythmic performance.

 

Almost Like Being In Love starts with Dave McKenna, in a rather more boppish mood than usual; after Ruby has been heard from, there is a 16-bar solo by Al Lucas. Notice how Ruby takes this one out with repeated arpeggios on a descending chord pattern.

 

Lover, Come Back To Me, which surprises with a Salt Peanuts-type riff at the end of the first chorus, gives Al Lucas a 32-bar stretch in addition to showing Ruby and Dave in flowing improvisations at a bright tempo.

 

I Must Have That Man, the Jimmy McHugh melody from Lew Leslie's Blackbirds of 1928, again shows some fine low-register Braff and some Teddy Wilson-like thoughts from Mr. McKenna.

 

When I reported to Ruby after having listened to the results of this session on a test pressing, he said that he was anxious to know how things had turned out, as he had not listened to the results since the day of the date. Having now listened to these sides several times, both subjectively and objectively, I hasten to assure Ruby that he hasn't a thing to worry about; in fact, I recommend that he run out to his neighborhood store right now.

 

- Leonard Feather