[Dixielandjazz] Ruby Braff and Louis
lUIS dANIEL Flores
luda at arnet.com.ar
Sat Feb 15 18:08:57 PST 2003
wonderful report Jim....
now on his playing technique....was it better than Luis himself???!!!
It is kind of a case of apples and oranges. Both Armstrong and Braff had
technique that worked for them. Certainly, Braff was more flexible and
facile then Louis in his middle and later years but Louis in his early years
is tough to beat. Nobody yet has been able to play Louis's dashing and
daring solos, much less think of them. Also Armstrong's upper register and
his control of it and expression, his sound and vibrato that marked that
very deep soul behind it is even more awesome as the years go by.
One thing that was distinctive with both Ruby and Louis was their innate
knowledge of melodic lines. They both knew the correct melodic lines of
tunes as opposed to so many musicians who 'sort' of know them. Louis played
a melodic line with complete conviction and with every ounce of soul that he
had. Take for example his recording of "Tin Roof Blues from the 'Ambassador
Satch' album. This is a very simple melodic line, one that is easily mocked
and usually is by lesser players. Not by Armstrong, who takes this old
Chicago tune very slowly, more slowly than anyone else would. He infuses
this simple line with such conviction and phrases it such that Edmund Hall
and Trummy Young can work in their magic with him. Louis plays the verse
that almost no one knows or plays correctly and plays it twice. There are
only two solos with Hall and Trummy each playing only one chorus. They are
set up so beautifully by Louis that only one chorus is needed. Any more
would be superflous. Louis skips playing a chorus altogether.
Many examples of Louis and Ruby's mastery of the melodic line can be found
on their recordings. We are very fortunate to have these recordings.
Ruby Braff once carried on fervently at his digust with jazz writers and
critics who were so dismissive and derisive of Armstrong when he was still
around. Ruby said that most of them lived in the New York area and wouldn't
bother to catch Louis when he was playing in the area. Now, of course they
are falling over each other proclaiming Louis's genius.
The Jazz world is not the same without these two giants.
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