When Ray Bryant rose out of Philadelphia to national prominence in the 1950s, he was noted for his ability to meet the sophisticated harmonic demands of modern jazz while retaining the muscle and swing of old forms and the spirit of the gospel music that surrounded him when he was a child. Any performance by Bryant is steeped in the blues, even when he's not playing a blues. Two stimulating examples here are his treatments of Neal Hefti's "Li'l Darlin'" and his own moving "Prayer Song." In fact, this is a rarity, a Ray Bryant album without a twelve-bar blues. But it could hardly be fuller of blues feeling.
Girl Talk, Good Morning Heartache, Manteca, When Sunny Gets Blue, Hold Back Mon, Li'l Darlin', Cold Turkey, Prayer Song