Now available in discrete multi-channel surround SACD as well as the CD recording!
Bassist Ray Brown, a pioneer in bebop whose associations included some of the most prominent names in modern jazz, was as hard working and prolific as he was talented. A contemporary of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Bud Powell, his artistic credits ranged from the recording studio to the international jazz stage to television, and his half-century resume includes an impressive string of Grammys and other awards. He'd just released the latest in his Best Friends series on Telarc less than two weeks before his death, and his touring schedule was full when he passed away in his sleep on the afternoon before a gig in Indianapolis on July 2, 2002, after doing what he loved almost as much as music, playing golf.
Fortunately for his fans, Brown has left one final gift—a brilliant recording with pianist Monty Alexander and guitarist Russell Malone that showcases the individual and collective talents of three fine jazzmen playing a mix of standards as well as their own compositions. Ray Brown, Monty Alexander and Russell Malone, is a collection of eleven tracks that merges the formidable talents of a veteran bassist, a versatile cross-cultural pianist and a young lion of jazz guitar.
From the poignant opening piano notes of John Lewis' "Django," Ray Brown, Monty Alexander and Russell Malone cruises through a mix of familiar standards like Bart Howard's "Fly Me To the Moon," Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose" and Dexter Gordon's eponymous "Dexter's Dex." The standards blend seamlessly with some fine original material, including two highly contrasting compositions from Brown: the smoky "Blues for Junior" and the lively "One for Hamp." Alexander takes the lead on his wistful "Don't Go," followed a couple tracks later by his playful "You Can See," while Malone weighs in with his easygoing "Look Who's Here."
Had Brown known this would be his last recording, he couldn't have picked more simpatico partners. Jamaican born Alexander, another prominent jazz figure on the Telarc label, had already soaked up the sounds of American legends like Count Basie, Nat Cole and Frank Sinatra by the time he came to the United States as a teenager in the early '60s. His most recent Telarc release, My America, is a tribute to the many musical and cultural icons of 20th century America who have shaped his artistic identity.
Over the past decade, Russell Malone has maintained a highly successful dual career as a solo artist on Columbia and Verve and as a valuable session player for a host of high-profile artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Diana Krall and Harry Connick, Jr. Malone appeared on three prior Ray Brown albums—Some of My Best Friends Are...Singers in 1998, Christmas Songs with the Ray Brown Trio in 1999 and Some of My Best Friends Are...Guitarists in 2002.
For more about Ray Brown, Monty Alexander and Russell Malone, listen to the Real Audio interview with the three artists located in the Track section below.