For over a half-century, Ray Brown has been the epitome of jazz bass. He was an influence from his earliest recordings in 1946 with the combos and big band of Dizzy Gillespie, a nonpareil accompanist from his initial tour a year later with his then-wife Ella Fitzgerald, and a consistent poll winner since first teaming in 1950 with Oscar Peterson (an affiliation that lasted fifteen years). There are also hundreds of recording sessions that have ben graced by Brown’s presence, frequent reunions with Milt Jackson (the two were half of the Gillespie big-band rhythm section that became the original Modern Jazz Quartet), and many albums under Brown’s own name. While recent years have found him leading a trio, his Verve recordings from the Fifties and Sixties invariably placed Brown’s bass (and, on two occasions, his cello) in larger ensembles filled with his peers.
Excerpted from Bob Blumenthal’s notes to Ultimate Ray Brown