Superbass: It Ain't Necessarily So
It Ain’t Necessarily So
Superbass2 (Telarc CD83483)
George Gershwin (composer).
Recorded: live at the Blue Note, New York, December 15-17, 2000
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
Certainly, playing with Ray and John Clayton in Superbass was one of the highlights of my entire career. Getting to actually play WITH Ray Brown and know what it feels like to have Ray Brown walking behind you, was pretty overwhelming. Ray was so driving and so forceful, I just remember thinking, “How in the world am I supposed to solo? How am I supposed to get over on top of that as a bass player?” Ray would just look at you and say, “come on, you’d better sink or swim, because I’m not going to quiet down.” So you had to just get on up there and blow.
He wrote an arrangement of a Porgy and Bess medley---“Summertime,” “I Loves You, Porgy,” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” This arrangement of “It Ain’t Necessarily So” is one of the funkiest, most down-home, most chicken-grease, rib-bone arrangements you could ever imagine. It definitely will get your foot tapping. It’s a real gritty, funky arrangement. It’s right up my alley.
Ray always demystified everything. John and I would constantly look at him and go, “Wow, that’s Ray Brown; let’s respect him; he has the final say-so with everything, and however the arrangements go, we’ll let him dictate that.” Ray would always look at us and say, “Look, man, please cut the shit. Yes, I know I’m old, but you guys are as much responsible for keeping the sound of this trio going as I am. I don’t want to be the center of this trio ALL the time.” So Ray gave us very much equal responsibility to create the sound of that trio. We all seemed to have our own natural thing that we did well. John, of course, with his classical background and his Basie background, usually when he would bring an arrangement it would be something kind of Basie-ish, or Ray would feature him on a sort of European type of thing where he could use his bow. They used to do this arrangement of “My Funny Valentine.” When it came time for me to get featured, Ray’s phrase was, “Ok, now the party gets started.” So Ray always left the crowd-pleasing stuff for us.
He asked me to bring an arrangement. He said, “Christian, I know you know all those old funk tunes. Why don’t you arrange an old funk song for the bass trio?” So I brought in “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.” we did it on this Super Bass, Part 2 recording. But I think the one on that date that particularly features Ray the best was “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” That was the track where, dare I say, I got to walk on top of HIM a little bit, and he’s just on top of everybody, just soloing like nuts. It was a real crowd pleaser.
Reviewer: Christian McBride