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Ruby Braff: Variety Is the Spice of Braff

There seems to be high demand for Ruby Braff in the jazz market. Fortunately, supply is also high. In less than a decade of recording for the Arbors label, the cornetist has turned out 13 CDs. The catalog of his available work for other labels runs to more than 30 albums, and Braff reissues keep coming.

Adherence to his famous tenet, adoration of the melody, is one reason Braff attracts so many listeners. Still, once he has adored a melody, his variations on and departures from it are among the most inventive-even astonishing-playing of any living jazz artist, regardless of age or style. Examples abound on his new collection, Variety Is the Spice of Braff. The CD is divided among pieces with strings, beautifully arranged by Tommy Newsom, and Braff’s arrangements for a big band, medium-sized groups and a quintet.

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