Ronnell Bright

Bright's Spot

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This drummerless piano trio dates from 1956 and is a gently swinging mix of bop and mainstream styles from talented pianist and composer Ronnell Bright. Not a household name, but Bright has worked with Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, and other illuminaries. His compositions have been performed by an equally stellar collection of players. This collaboration with guitarist Kenny Burrell and bassist Leonard Gaskin is a slightly updated variation of the drummer-less Nat Cole and Ahmad Jamal trios, groups that also featured superb guitarists (Oscar Moore and Ray Crawford, respectively). Burrell's presence on this mix of standards and Bright originals is key. He is the engine that swings the set, making the date a memorable one with his exquisite ballad work, hot bebop lines, choicely voiced comping on the slower tunes, and driving chord flurries on the up-tempo numbers. Gaskin takes a background role, leaving Bright and Burrell room to maneuver. While this is a fine session from their leader, fans of the guitarist will especially want to seek it out. As with many of his appearances on Savoy dates, Burrell has a way of becoming the focal point. In this case, he does so with playing that stands among his finest recorded performances.

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