June 25, 2002
Telarc Distribution

Album Review

The fifth in Ray Brown's series of recordings pairing his working trio with several different musicians from the same family of instruments (although one volume was exclusively singers) features a half-dozen guitarists, ranging from fellow Oscar Peterson alumni Herb Ellis (who worked with Brown in the pianist's most famous trio) and Ulf Wakenius to veteran Kenny Burrell, as well as seasoned players like John Pizzarelli and Bruce Forman and the rising star Russell Malone. Each song sounds as if the group could be a working quartet, due to the great interaction between the trio and each guest. Pizzarelli shines in a bluesy, strutting take of Duke Ellington's "Just Squeeze Me" (erroneously labeled as Fats Waller's "Squeeze Me") which has a nice series of exchanges between the guitarist and the leader. Ellis brings back memories of the Oscar Peterson Trio with a heated performance of "I Want to Be Happy" during which pianist Geoff Keezer is up to the task of carrying on where Ellis left off. Wakenius is the guest on a particularly moody take of "My Funny Valentine." Burrell, Forman, and Malone also fare nicely on each of their pair of tracks, so it's very easy to recommend this very enjoyable disc.
Ken Dryden, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Squeeze Me
  2. I Want to Be Happy
  3. Heartstrings
  4. Blues for Ray
  5. Fly Me to the Moon
  6. The Song Is You
  7. Little Darlin'
  8. Blues for Junior
  9. Tangerine
  10. My Funny Valentine
  11. Blues for Wes
  12. Soulful Spirit
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