The gloom implied by the title of this album is nowhere to be found in its contents. An encounter of four masters, Ain't But a Few of Us Left is a testament to the joy of making music, as the title tune quickly establishes. When he named the piece, Milt Jackson (1923-1999) may have felt like one of a handful of grizzled survivors. But he played with the vigor of youth on the uptempo numbers and the ardor of a swain on the love ballad, "A Time for Love." When the session was recorded in 1981, Jackson, Ray Brown, and Oscar Peterson had been established for more than three decades among the elite of jazz improvisers, and the slightly younger Grady Tate was an enthusiastically accepted member of the inner circle. Among Jackson's many Pablo albums, this is one of the finest and most popular.