Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ray Brown 1926-2002: A Tribute

In addition to a reposting of an earlier profile Bam, Bam, Bam!!! - The Ray Brown Trios which you can locate by scrolling down the left-hand side of the site, the editorial staff at JazzProfiles is working on a new feature about Ray that should post in about two weeks. In the meantime, please enjoy this video tribute to one of the great bassists in the history of Jazz. The audio track is a marvelously crafted arrangement of Irving Berlin's chestnut Remember on which Ray is joined by Benny Green on piano and Jeff Hamilton on drums.

There was a time when no self-respecting Jazz trio would be caught dead without an arrangement for every tune they played.

Ray Brown comes from this tradition and he taught it to the young guys - Benny and Jeff.

It takes the group a full two minutes to play the song's arrangement before Benny begins his solo at 2:00 minutes. He states the melody on piano at 0:33, Ray plays the bridge or refrain from 1:00 - 1:14 minutes before Benny restates the melody from 1:15 - 1:25 minutes.

From 1:26 - 2:00 minutes there is an arranged "call and response" sequence between piano and bass and then between piano and drums until Benny begins his solo. This part of the arrangement is repeated following the solos as a vehicle for closing the tune.

Listen to how Benny really "lights up" when Jeff switches to sticks and moves off the samba beat to straight 4/4 time at 2:54 minutes.

Jeff returns to the samba beat, which you can hear in a very pronounced manner on the bass drum, when he begins his solo at 3:48 minutes.

During his solo, Jeff moves from sticks to brushes to a small shaker beginning at 4:42 minutes.

You can make one of these if you have an old 35mm film canister. Just fill it almost to the top with pop corn kernels, put the lid back on very securely, grip it between your thumb and first, two fingers, and with your hand held upright and arm bent at the elbow, shake the canister to the rhythm of the music.

Don't forget to smile! :)