Ray Bryant: Big Buddy
Ray Bryant (piano)
Meet Betty Carter and Ray Bryant / Ray Bryant Trio: Little Susie (Collectables COL-5676)
Ray Bryant (piano),
Tommy Bryant (bass), Eddie Locke (drums).
Composed by Ray Bryant.
Recorded: New York, January 19, 1960
Rating: 89/100 (learn more)
Ray Bryant's lovely touch, fleet technique, unerring sense of swing and impeccable taste put him in the distinguished pianistic lineage of Earl Hines, Teddy Wilson, Nat Cole, Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan. What he had in common particularly with Jones and Flanagan (Ray's contemporary) was a self-effacing gentlemanliness at the keyboard. Even in a trio context where he was clearly the center of attention, Ray never domineered, always keeping his piano an integral part of the unit. Which is not to say that he lacked excitement. It's just that his dynamism was organic, growing out of the group instead of being imposed on top of it. Case in point: "Big Buddy," a fast blues that Ray builds from the ground up. After digging the foundation of his older brother Tommy's bass, Ray lays one brick-solid solo upon another. Trading fours with the crisp brushwork of drummer Eddie Locke opens the windows, letting in natural light. Finally Ray tops off his fine masonry construction with rolling tremolos à la Oscar Peterson. Cool in the summer, warm during winter. Everyone's comfy at Ray Bryant's house.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz