Ray Brown: Some of My Best Friends Are the Trumpet Players

The CD series featuring the Ray Brown Trio with various buddies (thus far, pianists, saxes, singers) salutes trumpeters on Some of My Best Friends Are… The Trumpet Players. With this version of his trio featuring pianist Geoff Keezer and drummer Karriem Riggins, 74-year-old bassist Brown mostly takes a back seat. Still, his purposeful pulsing presence is felt throughout as they tidily support two tracks each from ace trumpeters Terence Blanchard, John Faddis, Roy Hargrove, James Morrison, Nicholas Payton and Clark Terry. Best among the mix of blues, boppers and ballads are Faddis’ muted solo over Brown’s walking bass on the bluesy “Bags’ Groove,” Payton’s sentimental renderings on the rarely recorded “Violets for Your Furs” and his snappy crispness on “The Kicker.” Hargrove’s solo makes the swinging “Our Delight” just that, and Blanchard’s inventions heighten an uptempo “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You.” Straight-up, savory performances make this Brown’s best album in the series so far.