Ray Bryant

Ray Bryant '77

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While he operated his Pablo record label, late jazz impresario Norman Granz arranged to record many of his favorite artists as they performed at Montreux. This excellent solo set by Ray Bryant first appeared as a Pablo LP in 1977 and was reissued under Fantasy's Original Jazz Classics imprint in 1989, but the video version never saw the light of day until Eagle Vision USA issued the complete set on DVD in 2004. A superb pianist, Bryant has long been underrated, and he is best appreciated in a solo setting. Kicking off the program with a boogie-woogie-tinged "Take the 'A' Train," he displays gospel roots in "If I Can Just Make It into Heaven" and the moving spiritual "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child." Equally impressive are the somewhat breezy interpretation of John Lewis' "Django" and the dazzling "St. Louis Blues," which shows off a bit of stride. Photographed and edited with care, this concert represents Ray Bryant at his very best.

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