To say that Ruby Braff was one of the most exciting cornetist in jazz wouldn't be completely accurate. But there's always been something thrilling about his unique voice -- by turns gruff, sweet, lyrical and feisty, often assertive but rarely shouting. This disc brings together six tracks recorded in 2001, just two days after the September 11 terrorist attacks, with three others recorded six-months earlier in March of that year. The March session featured Braff in an unusual quintet setting, with pianists Bill Charlap and Dick Hyman, drummer Jake Hanna, and guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli; there's absolutely no reason why this instrumentation should work, but it does, and their sweetly swinging renditions of classic material like "Them There Eyes" and Count Basie's "Blue and Sentimental" are among Braff's finest work. The final three tracks feature an equally unusual trio -- Braff, Charlap and Hanna playing in a relaxed live setting, running through three swing standards: "You're Driving Me Crazy," "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" and "When I Fall in Love," all of them tunes that Braff made his very own decades ago. Both sessions are delightful in very different ways, but in both cases Braff plays as if every note matters. His tone has never been richer, his phrasing never more graceful. Highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson
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