Jazz Society of Oregon
Tonk – A Tribute To Ray Bryant, Vol. 2; Lenny Marcus, piano, flute, vocals.?Ray Bryant had a certain open, bluesy sound with chords seemingly from heaven. It turns out that Bryant, who passed away in 2011, was Lenny Marcus’s teacher and mentor and a best friend of Marcus Sr. So it’s entirely sensible that Marcus should follow his earlier RB tribute with Volume 2. His basic trio of Rick Eckberg, bass, and Larry Scott, drums, is augmented here and there with additional instrumentation. And Marcus keeps these proceedings squarely in Bryant’s corner with a very bluesy orientation and a swinging menu from the first notes. How could he do otherwise on a tribute to this great Philly giant? There are 16 tunes in all, ranging from evergreens such as “C Jam Blues,” “Old Devil Moon,” and “St. Louis Blues,” to Bryant blues specials such as “Slow Freight,” “Up Above the Rock,” “Break Tune in G,” and two of Ray’s best, “Blues #2 and #3.” These — and all the others on this disc — remind us of the individuality, the fresh and invigorating vitality, and the reliably joyful sound that was, plain and simply, in the DNA of Ray Bryant.?Self-Produced; 2013; appx. 58 minutes.