A resurgence in patriotic themes in music has paralleled a resurgence of patriotism in the United States following the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. America, the Beautiful, a duet concert between cornetist Ruby Braff and organist Dick Hyman, was originally released in 1984 and later issued on CD under the unpromising title A Pipe Organ Recital Plus One by Concord. When the album failed to sell, Concord dropped it and the album remained in limbo until 2002 when it was made available to Arbors, who reverted to the original title. The reissue also includes seven extra tracks for a total of 68 minutes' worth of music. Although the patriotic theme seems incidental to songs like "Dinah" and "I Ain't Got Nobody," the music stands for itself. The combination of cornet and organ may seem like an odd one, and there are times when the listener will feel that he or she is listening to the opening ceremony of a baseball game. Overall, though, Hyman's organ provides the sparest of backdrops for Braff to spin out his melodic leads. The choice of material draws heavily from standards, and includes lovely versions of "When Its Sleepy Time Down South," "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," and a Duke Ellington medley. And, if one just happens to be in a patriotic mood, the duo's take on "America the Beautiful" is exquisite. Once again, Braff and Hyman prove that there's nothing staid or tired about traditional jazz.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.