Hi Fi Salute to Bunny

Ruby Braff

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Hi Fi Salute to Bunny Review

by Ken Dryden

Ruby Braff's 1957 tribute to trumpet great Bunny Berigan is only appropriate, as he has long since gone on to establish himself as one of the modern masters of swing. His band includes pianist Nat Pierce, guitarist Steve Jordan, clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, trombonist Benny Morton, tenor saxophonist Dick Hafer, bassist Walter Page (in one of his last recordings prior to his death), and drummer Buzzy Drootin. Braff's passionate, always-melodic solos contrast with Russell's rather distinctive approach to the clarinet, while the rhythm section is dominated by Page's fat-toned bass. The leader's approach to "I Can't Get Started," a song forever associated with Berigan, remains fresh decades later. Most of the selections were reissued on the since-deleted Bluebird CD This Is My Lucky Day, so finding a copy of this valuable music remains somewhat challenging.

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