Braff once told writer Martin Williams that “I never knew any great musicians who couldn’t get together and produced lovely music if they all knew the tune and agreed to play it,” adding astutely; “To me that’s the test.” Braff’s commonsense dictum holds good on this recording as this informal group endorses his criterion for success. Four musicians, whose accumulated jazz wisdom is apparent in every note they play, gathered here to play tunes they know and making great art from their endeavours. Braff’s centred attack is heard at its best here, with Sutton’s expansive keyboard work reminding us why drummer Jake Hanna once remarked that “It starts swinging so hard that he makes it easy for everyone else.” This is joyous music, by any standard. Hot Stuff then and now.
Ruby Braff (co), Ralph Sutton (p), Milt Hinton (b) and Mousey Alexander (dr)
Recorded February 29, 1968