1. At Long Last Love
2. Parking Lot Blues
4. Both Sides Now
6. Hymn to Freedom.
7, Reflections in D/Prelude to a Kiss
8. C Jam Blues
9. Old Folks
10. Old Devil Moon
11. Close Enough for Love
Larry Fuller – Piano
Hassan Shakur – Bass
Greg Hutchinson- Drums
Ray Brown’s trios and quartets invariably had some of the finest pianists available. Such musicians as Monty Alexander, Gene Harris, Benny Green and Geoff
Keezer ensured that Ray Brown’s groups had the same sort of impeccable swing as Ray experienced when playing for Oscar Peterson. The last pianist for Ray
Brown’s trios was Larry Fuller, who created as nmuch excitement as his predecessors. Ray also used many talented drummers, including Greg Hutchinson, who
appears on this album - Larry Fuller’s second disc as a leader.
Mention of Oscar Peterson seems inevitable when talking about Larry Fuller, as he has many of Oscar’s traits, including an ability to swing effortlessly
and to encompass a wide range if styles. Larry’s brief sleeve-notes say that he values “a joyous swinging pulse and an affinity for the blues”.
The opening At Long Last Love certainly has the former character, while Ray Brown’s Parking Lot Blues speaks for itself. Cole Porter’s At Long Last Love is just one of several estimable tunes on the album from the Great American Songbook, chosen so as to avoid the over-familiar.
There are also several jazz standards, including three by Duke Ellington and John Lewis’s Django, which is one of the highlights of the album. The
MJQ’s original version of Django is such a classic that it is hard to do new things with it, but Larry’s trio makes it sound fresh, with an
approach which is enterprising rather than slavish.
Larry’s accompanying musicians fulfill their roles to perfection. Their quality is evident in little things like bassist Hassan Shakur’s super downward
glissando at the end of Hymn to Freedom and Greg Hutchinson’s subtle hint of Latin Americana in Old Devil Moon. As for their leader, just
sample his scintillating take on Daahoud or his solo piano version of C Jam Blues, which displays his facility with boogie-woogie.
You can tell from several reviews on this site that I have been impressed by Larry Fuller’s work with John Pizzarelli. I am equally impressed by his
playing here. It shouldn’t be long before some wise record company snaps him up to make plenty more recordings.