Ruby Braff's many fans have reason to rejoice. In 1982, the late cornetist and Dick Hyman played an unusual concert together. Utilizing a restored Wurlitzer theatre organ in Dormont, Pennsylvania, the veteran jazzmen presented a tribute to America and its music. Producer, George Wein, underwrote the concert and ten tunes were issued on a Concord LP in 1984. While the Concord material was reissued on CD, seven additional songs appear here for the first time.
Among the newly issued tunes are a couple of gems. If Dreams Come True
and I'm Confessin'
are wonderful examples of duo improvisation at a time when duos
were unpopular. You probably never thought you'd hear Kid Ory's Muskrat Ramble
played by cornet and pipe organ and you're in for a treat. The Braff/Hyman version is lively and definitely "tongue in cheek." If I had to pick a favorite, I'd vote for As Long As I Live
where Braff truly exhibits his devotion to Satchmo and Hackett.
In his liner notes, Dick Hyman delves into the rise and fall of the pipe organ in popular entertainment and relates the story of the session itself. America, The Beautiful
is an album that deserves an attentive ear. These are two giants of American music.