Huffin 'n' Puffin' Ray Nance
- 1He Huffed 'n' Puffed05:49
- 2Some of These Days05:40
- 3I Can't Get Started04:24
- 4Struttin' with Some Barbecue04:07
- 5Wild Child08:04
- 7Russian Lullaby05:41
Info for Huffin 'n' Puffin'
“Ray Nance never played a bad note in his life.” – Duke Ellington. These words from the maestro are all that need be said. A vital player in the Ellington band for some two decades, Nance doubled on trumpet and violin. His solo on Take the A-Train is one of the most copied trumpet solos in jazz. Nance was also a noted singer in the Armstrong style. A topflight rhythm section is on board. Pianist Kenny Drew played with Lester Young, Charlie Parker, and John Coltrane. Bassist Ron Mathewson and drummer Daniel Humair are two of the best players Europe has to offer. Armstrong’s influence on Nance’s vocal and trumpet play can be heard on He Huffed ‘N’ Puffed. Quality solos from Drew and Mathewson. Some Of These Days has Ray on violin with an emotional solo; in his hands, the violin sings. Nance keeps to the violin on Vernon Duke’s classic ballad I Can’t Get Started, soloing the first verse and singing the second. Ray takes trumpet in hand for Armstrong’s Struttin’ With Some Barbecue; there’s the appropriate swagger in Drew’s and Nance’s solos. Nance’s Wild Child is a modal excursion with an African feel ala Coltrane. Everyone gets a chance to stretch out on this one as well as on Tangerine, with its muted trumpet and Nance vocal. After a romantic beginning, Russian Lullaby turns towards a grooving medium tempo with outstanding piano and bass solos. Nance’s violin puts the tune and the album to bed.
„This is one of the rarest record dates led by Ray Nance, recorded in 1971 for BASF with pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Ron Mathewson, and drummer Daniel Humair. Nance pulls all the stops in showcasing his talents, opening with an obscure Ellington composition, 'He Huffed 'n' Puffed' (played during just two 1965 concerts before it was dropped), with the leader delivering its jive vocal with his trademark humor in his hoarse voice. His swinging violin is heard on 'Some of These Days' and his exotic original 'Wild Child,' written shortly before the session began, which finds him moving away from swing and closer to the post-bop sounds of John Coltrane. His muted horn and campy vocal on 'Tangerine' and open horn on 'Struttin' With Some Barbecue' are also highlights of what evidently was his final recording as a leader prior to his death in 1976. This long out of print LP is worth an extensive search.“ (Ken Dryden, AMG)
Ray Nance, violin, trumpet, vocals
Kenny Drew, piano
Ron Mathewson, bass
Daniel Humair, drums
Engineered by Rolf Donner
Produced by Joachim E. Berendt
was an integral part of the Duke Ellington orchestra from 1940 to 1963 although he took a break in the early ‘40s to lead his own groups. A multi-talented artist who played trumpet, cornet and violin, he was given the nickname of “Floorshow” because of his ability to also sing and dance. His trumpet solo on the first recording of “Take the A Train” in 1941 is memorable. In fact, when he left Ellington, his replacement, Cootie Williams, continued to play it note for note. Nance himself developed his own distinctive style on plunger when he earlier replaced Williams who had learned to use the plunger in the style of Buber Miley.
Nance was a virtuoso jazz violinist and Ellington took care to feature him on many of the band’s numbers. Particularly outstanding are his contributions to “Moon Mist,” “Come Sunday,” and “Black, Brown and Beige”.
As a young man in Chicago Nance studied piano and violin but taught himself to play trumpet. He combined all of his talents into a solo act before joining Ellington, who also occasionally featured him as vocalist. He performed on over 200 recordings, mostly with the Ellington band. However, he lends fire and grace to the recording efforts of fellow band members Paul Gonsalvez and Johnny Hodges and singers Ella Fitzgerald and Rosemary Clooney.
This album contains no booklet.