Ruby Braff

Controlled Nonchalance at the Regattabar, Vol. 2

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Although cornet player Ruby Braff passed away in 2002, Arbors has continued to honor his legacy by releasing previously unavailable material. As a result, Braff's oeuvre continues to grow along with his reputation as a central figure in revival jazz. Controlled Nonchalance at the Regattabar, Vol. 2, recorded on November 26 and 27, 1993, may be an odd title for an album, but the music is fabulous. Braff is joined by tenor Scott Hamilton, pianist Dave McKenna, guitarist Gray Sargent, bassist Marshall Woods, and drummer Chuck Riggs for a 70-minute set featuring mostly familiar standards. As one might guess from glancing at the lengths of these pieces, there's a lot of room for spontaneous soloing on extended versions of "It's All Right with Me" and "Pennies from Heaven." These performers exceed in their ability to play as a band, and the instrumental mix, with heavy horns balanced by lighter piano and guitar, works well. Braff and friends offer a treat for Ellington fans with a relaxed 12-minute medley featuring "In a Sentimental Mood" and "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good." Overall, the set is fairly mellow, which makes the upbeat wildness of "Swinging on a Star" and "Them There Eyes" stand out even more. For classic jazz fans, Controlled Nonchalance is a lovely disc that will be much appreciated.

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