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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



Live From New York to Tokyo

Concord Jazz CCD2-2174-2




Disk 1

  1. Have You Met Miss Jones
  2. Meditation
  3. Street of Dreams
  4. Lady Be Good
  5. That’s Al
  6. Love Me tender
  7. How Could You Do a Thing Like this to Me?
  8. Captain Bill

Ray Brown – Bass
Gene Harris – Piano
Micky Roker Drums

Disk 2

  1. Intro
  2. FSR (For Sonny Rollins)
  3. Put Your Little Foot Right Out
  4. Rio
  5. If I Loved You
  6. Intro
  7. Summertime
  8. Days of Wine and Roses
  9. Intro
  10. A Night in Tunisia
  11. Bam Bam Bam

Personnel as above but Jeff Hamilton – Drums replaces Micky Rocker

This double CD album was originally released as two different albums called ‘The Red Hot Ray Brown Trio’ and ‘Bam Bam Bam’. Both feature the late Gene Harris on piano, unfortunately Ray Brown has passed on as well, but these were two musical giants. Ray was the undisputed king of the double bass and Gene was always the most swinging piano player in town. The world is a poorer place without them.

The first album was recorded in the Blue Note Club in New York, Gene Harris had retired to Idaho by this time, but it was Ray Brown who persuaded him back to the big -time. Gene never looked back and when I saw him in Jersey in 1995, he gave a fantastic performance supported by Martin Drew and Jim Mullen. The second session was recorded in Tokyo in 1989. The drummers completing the trio are also world class both Mickey Rocker and Jeff Hamilton acquit themselves well.

The musical selection on both albums is just right combining jazz standards with newer material from Ray Brown, Victor Feldman and Larry Spier. Throughout both albums, Gene Harris demonstrates his ability to bring the ‘blues’ feel that is the very essence of jazz, to his performance of any tune. Ray Brown leaves us in no doubt why he was always regarded as the jazz world’s No1 bass player. I was particularly taken with their performance of ‘That’s All’, a wistful, bitter sweet tune if ever there was one.

Love Me Tender is the same number that Elvis Presley helped to write and had a number one hit with! Not the most obvious jazz vehicle, but in the hands of this trio, it turns into something special. Ray states the theme on beautifully played bowed bass.

How Could You Do a Thing Like This to Me? is a fine jazz standard and the trio delivers an excellent version of the tune written by Tyree Glenn & Allan Roberts.

The sleeve note suggests overtones of Erroll Garner, but to me it’s pure Gene Harris!

The first album ends with a blues called Captain Bill, an original from Ray, so many ‘jazz greats’ never tire of the blues and I am with them all the way, it is an art form in itself.

Disk 2, is another live session this time recorded in Tokyo. It begins with RBS, which started out as a backing for Sonny Rollins tune Doxy, but Ray felt it was a strong enough melody to survive on it’s own and the trio drop into a swinging groove on this one immediately. On ‘Put Your Little Foot’ Ray plays the intro and states the theme, Gene then takes over against a walking bass from Ray.

Rio is a fine tune written by British born pianist Victor Feldman, again every one solos well against a Latin beat this time. Ray plays bowed bass again on the theme

of If I Love you, before there is another stunning solo spot from Gene on Gershwin’s Summertime. The Henry Mancini favourite The Days of Wine and Roses is driven along by the excellent Jeff Hamilton on drums, it is easy to hear why he is so much in demand. He is featured playing hand drums on the next number A Night in Tunisia. This disk also ends with a Ray Brown blues called Bam Bam Bam; Jeff’s introduction suggests the title!

This is an excellent double album, don’t miss it!

Don Mather




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