Reuben Brown Trio: Ice Scape

Nearly every urban community is blessed with one or more jazz treasures who chose to stay at home. Piano-wise, in D.C. one of those has long been pianist Reuben Brown, whose roll has been slowed by illness in recent years. At places like One Step Down, Brown has eased the fears of many a traveling soloist dealt the often iffy “local rhythm section” card. Thankfully in 1994 Nils Winther of SteepleChase took some time to chronicle Brown’s marvelous, swinging and soulful touch at the piano.

Assisted by masters Rufus Reid on bass and homeboy Billy Hart on drums, Brown brings his classic touch to the world. Among the highlights of this date are his unusual, hushed treatment of “Mack The Knife,” given new life courtesy of Reuben’s arrangement. Other standards include “A Night In Tunisia” and a gorgeous solo “Lush Life.” Otherwise Brown displays his keen compositional skills on the remaining seven tracks.

Willard Jenkins

Willard Jenkins has covered jazz artists, performances, and the jazz infrastructure since his early-’70s undergrad days writing for The Black Watch student newspaper at Kent State University. Additionally, he has been a jazz broadcaster since 1973— currently programming at WPFW in Washington, D.C.—and a jazz concerts and festivals presenter since 1978. He currently serves as artistic director of the DC Jazz Festival and artistic director of jazz programming at Tribeca Performing Arts Center (NYC). A founding member of the Jazz Journalists Association, he is also a recipient of its Lifetime Achievement award.