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Ray Bryant: Somewhere In France

Ray Bryant can be thought of as belonging to the great post-Powell school, and his ability to spin out fleet right-hand lines or comp in the modern style has certainly been demonstrated (particularly with Max Roach), but he has always had a strong left hand and also is one of those players who really shifts gears when he’s playing solo. And his solo style is in some ways quite old-fashioned. He clearly thinks in terms of a strong left-hand part that supports right-hand variations, like a stride (or occasionally boogie) player, even on material like Dizzy’s “Con Alma.” His program on this concert seems almost like a jazz history lesson for his audience (the CD is made from one of several tapes of live performances that producer Joel Dorn wheedled out of the pianist, who doesn’t remember where in France it was made). This is a thoroughly enjoyable outing by a significant artist who was still in peak form for this 1993 concert, wherever it was.

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