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'Some of My Best Friends Are ...' Bassist Ray Brown's Many Recordings

July 05, 2002|Don Heckman

Ray Brown recorded over such a long period of time, in so many settings, that there are literally dozens of recordings that could be included in any selective list of his most attractive musical efforts. Obviously, it's worth checking out any of his numerous recordings with Oscar Peterson. In addition, here are a few personal favorites spanning much of his productive career:

* "The Poll Winners" (Contemporary). A state-of-the-jazz-art recording featuring Brown with guitarist Barney Kessel and drummer Shelly Manne (1957).

* "This One's for Blanton" (Original Jazz Classics). A lovely pairing of Brown and, in one of his last outings, Duke Ellington. (1972).

* "Milt Jackson and Company" (Pablo). Bebop at its finest, with Brown, Milt Jackson and trombonist J.J. Johnson. (1983).

* "Soular Energy" (Concord Jazz). An early manifestation of the Brown trio instrumentation, with a set of hard-swinging tunes featuring pianist Gene Harris (1984).

* "Don't Get Sassy" (Telarc). The trio concept continues with a youthful Benny Green at the keyboard (1994).

* "Super Bass" (Capri). An all-star bass summit featuring Brown with Christian McBride and John Clayton (1989).

* "Some of My Best Friends Are ... Singers" (Telarc). One of a series of "Some of My Best Friends ... ," this one features Diana Krall, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kevin Mahogany and others (1998).

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