Ray Brown Trio
Some of My Best Friends Are ... Guitarists
The late, great jazz bassist Ray Brown, with over 2000 recordings to his name, was perhaps the most recorded musician in history. There's a reason for that: he was one of jazz's best, and his recent passing has been felt deeply within the community. Towards the end of his life, he had a really good thing going with his Friends series. He was down with pianists like Ahmad Jamal and Oscar Peterson, saxophonists like Benny Carter and Stanley Turrentine, trumpeters Terence Blanchard and Clark Terry, and singers Diana Krall and Marlena Shaw. His latest installment sees him with the guitarists (I guess thousands of recordings garner one a lot of friends). Brown's wonderful trio (with Geoff Keezer on piano and Karriem Riggins on drums) back up Kenny Burrell, Herb Ellis, John Pizzarelli, Ulf Wakenius, Russell Malone, and Bruce Forman. These three guys build a strong, high, swinging foundation leagues above most, from which these guitarists can really fly. And most of them definitely do soar. The end result is a thoroughly enjoyable disc with some of the best jazz to be heard today. It is a shame that most of Brown's friends gathered for the last time with the man at his funeral this summer. It's sad to see him and this series go.