Plays Basie and Ellington

Ray Bryant

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Plays Basie and Ellington Review

by Scott Yanow

This was the first new music of Ray Bryant's to be released in seven years although his EmArcy album Ray Bryant Trio Today was actually recorded two days earlier. Pianist Bryant (along with bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Freddie Waits) performs four songs associated with Count Basie (including Neal Hefti's obscure "Teddy The Toad"), his own "Blues For Basie," five Duke Ellington tunes (including a three-song ballad medley) and Mercer Ellington's "Things Ain't What They Used To Be." Although it is a shame that ("Teddy" excepted) Bryant stuck to fairly obvious material (particularly on the Ellington half of the program), his typically swinging and soulful renditions are always fun to hear.

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