Ray Brown Trio: Ray Brown (acoustic bass); Gene Harris (piano); Jeff Hamilton (drums).
Recorded live at The Loa, Santa Monica, California in July 1988. Includes liner notes by Chip Deffaa and Leonard Feather.
Personnel: Johnny Griffin (tenor saxophone); Gene Harris, Monty Alexander (piano); Jeff Hamilton , Martin Drew (drums).
Audio Mixer: Phil Edwards .
Audio Remixer: Phil Edwards .
Liner Note Authors: Leonard Feather; Chip Deffaa.
Recording information: PER Mobile II (07/1988); The Loa, Santa Monica, CA (07/1988).
Ray Brown has many great contributions to jazz as a leader and a sideman, but one additional way in which he helped jazz was his encouraging Gene Harris to give up his early retirement and go back out on the road. The pianist was a part of Brown's groups for several years before he formed a working quartet and became a leader for good once again. This 1988 concert at a since-defunct Santa Monica night club (co-owned by Brown) finds the two, along with drummer Jeff Hamilton, at the top of their game. A phone ringing in the background distracts momentarily from Brown's opening solo in his composition "The Real Blues," during which Harris repeats a bluesy tremolo, which may be an inside joke about the early distraction. Harris take a blues-drenched approach to "Mona Lisa" before giving way to the leader's solo, while his lyrical approach to "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" is shimmering. Hamilton's soft brushes are prominent in "Little Darlin'," but his explosive playing provides a powerful pulse to the very unusual strutting take of "It Don't Mean a Thing." This extremely satisfying CD is warmly recommended. ~ Ken Dryden