[Dixielandjazz] We Remember Ruby Braff

Marek Boym marekboym at gmail.com
Sun Jun 24 14:15:44 PDT 2007

Perhaps, steve, perhaps, but not in my circles.  Nor among the
Mississippi Rag critics.  Someone - I do not remember who - wrote
there that Braff was national treasure, and rightly so!
True, there were days when, after having been declared a "wunder
kind," he could not find work, in particular because he was outspoken
and unprepared to compromise his integrity.
All that changed, however, when George Wein (who employed Braff in his
Boston Stryville club in the late 1940's) srganized the  Newport All
Stars (in 1967, I believe), and startet touring the world with them.
While Braff was on some 1950's Capitol recordsings by BG, I never paid
much attention to him until I heard "Thou Swell" by Braff and Ellis
Larkins on a Humphrey Lyttelton jazz programme on the BBC while
relaxing on the beach.   The next day I ran to a record store, found
the record - and upon having put in on the turntable heard the White
Heather Bagpipe Band!  Luckily, they had another copy.  Since then, I
have amassed quite a few recordings by Braff - with Dickenson, Newport
All Stars, the above duets (and the Reunion), most of the Braff-Barnes
Quartet, and many others, including a few on Arbors.  I believe that
we owe a big debt to Matt Domber for having issued so much Braff!
Among us, my friends and i have most of those.

On 23/06/07, Steve Barbone <barbonestreet at earthlink.net> wrote:
> IMO, Ruby Braff was, and is, one of the most underated jazz trumpeters by
> both critics and fans. He played all the pretty notes.
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone
> Music Review | ŒWe Remember Ruby¹
> In His Memory, the Melodies Linger On
> Published: June 23, 2007
> There were no fireworks on Wednesday night at the Kaye Playhouse, where the
> JVC Jazz Festival presented ³We Remember Ruby,² a tribute to the trumpeter
> and cornetist Ruby Braff. They weren¹t needed.
> For Mr. Braff, who died in 2003 at the age of 75, jazz was not something to
> be shouted or screamed; music, he said on more than one occasion, should be
> a conversation. And the 14 musicians who gathered, in various combinations,
> to play a selection of Tin Pan Alley standards, songs associated with Billie
> Holiday and Louis Armstrong, and other staples of the Braff repertory (among
> them a couple of his own compositions) clearly kept that dictum in mind.
> The tempos were mostly in the slow-to-medium range, the solos concise, the
> intensity level rarely higher than a low flame. The emphasis throughout was
> on what Mr. Braff once called ³adoration of the melody,² as opposed to
> harmonic cleverness or instrumental pyrotechnics. Working within those
> parameters, the assembled musicians provided many extraordinary moments.
> Mr. Braff was a member of the bebop generation who had little use for bebop,
> and some of Wednesday¹s highlights were provided by musicians who, though a
> generation younger, shared his devotion to the jazz ethos of an earlier era
> and his indifference to musical trends. Particularly noteworthy were the
> tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton, whose impassioned but understated solo on
> ³Them There Eyes² brought things as close to a fever pitch as they got all
> evening, and the cornetist Warren Vaché, whose resonant and authoritative
> rendition of ³America the Beautiful² (in a duet with the pianist Dick Hyman)
> imbued the song with a surprising emotional depth.
> It wasn¹t only younger musicians who looked up to Ruby Braff. The festival
> impresario George Wein, who was a pianist before he was a promoter ‹ and who
> was born a year and half before Mr. Braff ‹ began the concert by fondly
> recalling their days playing music together in the late 1940s. Mr. Braff, he
> told the audience, was ³my teacher.²
> Mr. Wein then attacked the keyboard with gusto, performing three spirited
> numbers with a septet that included Mr. Hamilton and the guitarist Bucky
> Pizzarelli. And on ³Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams,² he did something he has
> rarely done since recording a vocal album half a century ago with a band
> featuring Mr. Braff: he sang, quite movingly. Mr. Wein may not have hit all
> the right notes, but he had the right spirit.
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