Bel Aire – Ray Bryant
A challenging medium up tempo swinger.
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- Recording: George Shearing - Jazz Concert
- Recorded on: February 15, 1963
- Label: Capitol (ST 1992)
- Concert Key: C
- Vocal Range: , to
- Style: Swing (medium up)
- Piano - George Shearing
- Vibes - Gary Burton
- Guitar - John Gray
- Bass - Bill Yancey
- Drums - Vernell Fournier
The lead sheet is complete with a written introduction (which starts our audio excerpt), an interlude that sets up the out melody and a fiery coda.
Note that 1963 was the year then-twenty-year-old vibraphonist Gary Burton toured and recorded with Shearing, shortly after attending the Berklee School of Music in Boston.
Here are a few other Bryant titles recorded by George Shearing: Bebop Irishman, Cuban Fantasy, Cubano Chant, 18th Century Ballroom, Minor Trouble, Pawn Ticket, Splittin' (which was retitled on his recording as Later).
However, if the brisk tempo of the original seems intimidating, one way to develop your technique is by following the process used by guitarist Joe Freund in this video performance. Slowing down the original recording in GarageBand (this process can be seen in our video performances of Ray Bryant's Pawn Ticket and Chuck Wayne's Slightly Dizzy), Freund starts by playing with the recording at a considerably reduced speed before gradually increasing the tempo, allowing him to become more comfortable with the technical and phrasing demands of the melody. Combined with the clear view of Freund's guitar and hands, this video is perfect for guitarists seeking to not only master the melody to Bel Aire, but to learn useful practicing methods.
December 24, 1931 – June 2, 2011
Following performances in his native Philadelphia with guitarist Tiny Grimes and as house pianist at the Blue Note Club with Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Miles Davis and others, Ray Bryant came to New York in the mid-1950s. His first jazz recording session in New York was with Toots Thielemans (August, 1955) for Columbia Records. That session led to his own trio sessions as well as sessions with vocalist Betty Carter for Epic Records in May and June ("Meet Betty Carter and Ray Bryant"). On August 5, 1955, Ray recorded with Miles Davis, and on December 2, 1955, with Sonny Rollins, both for Prestige Records. Read more...