Ruby Braff

Born to Play

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At 71, cornetist Ruby Braff was still in prime form at the time of this interesting project. Braff decided to try something different so he utilized clarinetist Kenny Davern, three guitarists (Howard Alden, Bucky Pizzarelli and Jon Wheatley), two bassists (Michael Moore and Marshall Wood) and drummer Jim Gwin. The unusual six-piece rhythm section is well featured with each of the players somehow staying out of each other's way and the three guitars often emulating a piano. Braff sounds fine on such numbers as "Avalon," an emotional medley of two Charlie Chaplin-associated melodies ("Smile" and "La Violettera"), "Jive at Five" and a pair of the cornetist's originals. The closing "Born To Lose" is a frivolity with a so-so Braff vocal (why do older trumpeters feel compelled to sing?) but otherwise this is a successful mainstream effort.

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