If you have never had the opportunity to hear Ruby Braff, the most accurate description of this fabulous cornet player is a quote from Bobby Short- " If Fred Astaire played cornet, he would aspire to sound like Ruby Braff.
Braff has put together his "A" team of musicians on this CD including Michael Moore on bass and Kenny Washington on drums. On piano is the great jazz pianist, John Bunch who has played with the bands of Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Maynard Ferguson and Buddy Rich. He also has conducted several orchestras including the London and Los Angeles Philharmonics and the Basie and Ellington bands. Rounding out the group is Howard Alden on Guitar who was voted "Best Emerging Talent - Guitar" in the first annual JazzTimes critics' poll, 1990, and "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" in the 1992, 1993, and 1995 Down Beat Critics' poll. As jazz critic Wayne Thompson writes in Jazzscene, "If there are better young jazz guitar players in America than Howard Alden, I have yet to hear them."
Recorded on the Arbors Label, together these musicians create some great jazz music playing a repertoire of jazz classics including Thinking of You, Can't We Be Friends? Willow Weep for Me, When it's Sleepy Time Done South, I Wished on the Moon, Linger Awhile, Looking at You, I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance, Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words,) and These Foolish Things (Remind me of You.)
While there is not a "bad" tune on the CD, make sure you check out, Ruby's fabulous work on the Bing Crosby tune, I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance Without You. Howard Alden and Ruby work well off each other in Cole Porter's, Looking at You. Finally, Fly Me to the Moon (In other words) gives each musician the chance to take center stage playing "catch and return" with each other.
Braff says, "all these songs (on the CD) are new material, newly played, and newly experienced. And the reason is that I'm responding freshly to these marvelous people who are playing with me." Indeed it is clear that each of the musicians on this CD not only respects the history of this music but also enjoys playing with each other.