Renowned jazz bassist Ray Brown is remembered on the release of his final album, an 11-track collection of standards and originals. The album is titled after its major players, Ray Brown, Monty Alexander and Russell Malone. Brown was still in top form when he recorded the CD just four months before his untimely death in July.
Ray Brown died in his sleep on July 2 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was 75. Brown played a round of golf earlier in the day, and was resting up for a concert that evening. At the time, Brown was on tour to promote his previous album, Some Of My Best Friends Are Guitarists.
Now comes Brown's final recording.
Ray Brown was known for his dazzling style but he was also a prolific composer. Blues For Junior is one of two originals from Ray Brown, Monty Alexander and Russell Malone.
Ray Brown was formally trained on piano in his native Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In high school, he decided to switch to bass, and joined several touring bands. Brown was 20 when he moved to New York to work as a freelance musician. He appeared with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Bud Powell before touring the world for 18 years with Norman Granz's Jazz At The Philharmonic.
Signed to Telarc Records in 1989, Brown gained a new legion of fans with such albums as Don't Get Sassy, Super Bass and Live At Starbucks, as well as his Best Friends series with jazz singers, saxophonists, trumpeters and guitarists.
Guitarist Russell Malone, 39, appeared on Ray Brown's last two albums. Malone even composed the tune Look Who's Here for the new trio release.
Look Who's Here features Russell Malone on guitar, Monty Alexander on piano and Ray Brown on bass. Original material by Jamaican jazz piano veteran Monty Alexander is also featured on Ray Brown's final recording, including You Can See.
A limited edition of the new album Ray Brown, Monty Alexander and Russell Malone includes a second CD of Ray Brown's best work on Telarc Records. Selections from six different albums were chosen by Brown's longtime manager and producer, Elaine Martone.
Ray Brown was a gifted player, composer, teacher and bandleader. He directed jazz festivals, won numerous polls and awards, and accompanied some of the world's best entertainers. His passion for playing jazz standards was evident on every recording, including his last with Monty Alexander and Russell Malone.