Ray Brown did it again with the fourth installment in his Some of My Best Friends Are... series, spotlighting some of the hottest trumpet players around and producing one of the finest trumpet-fronted small group recordings to come down the jazz pike in a while. Featuring a six-pack of hornmen ranging from octogenarian Clark Terry to youngsters Roy Hargrove and Nicholas Payton, this CD alternately cooks and simmers, with the ballads especially standing out in their spaciousness and beauty. The blend of Brown's bass and Jon Faddis' trumpet on a slowed-down "Bag's Groove" is particularly appealing in its sparseness. The intro and outro duets between Brown's bass and James Morrison's dry trumpet tone on "I Thought About You" are also entrancing in their openness. Terrence Blanchard lays out a smoky lead line over Geoff Keezer's bluesy late-night piano on Benny Goodman's old sign-off theme, "Goodbye," bringing a new poignancy to the tune. On the most noteworthy upbeat number, Payton really smokes on Joe Henderson's composition, "The Kicker," though the track mysteriously fades out too early. Brown himself is fantastic throughout this disc, and he and his trio mates Keezer and drummer Karriem Riggins anchor the proceedings masterfully.
AllMusic Review by Jim Newsom
feat: Nicholas Payton