“Sun Ray” is a tribute to one of my first piano teachers, my mentor, my friend, legendary jazz pianist Ray Bryant, who passed away in June, 2011. Actually, Ray was much more than that, he was part of my family, my Dad’s best friend. He used to laugh and call me his “nephew” as I ran around the house as a little kid, showing me how to play chords on the piano with both hands, and how to develop a strong powerful left hand to compliment the right. He showed me some of his unique jazz and blues changes, the way to thicken jazz chords to get that “Ray Bryant sound.” My Dad would say, “You know why Ray is great? It’s because whenever you hear him play, you know it’s HIM.”
I am delighted to dedicate this album to Ray Bryant, from his first song “Minor Trouble,” to “Gotta Travel On,” the famous “Cubano Chant,” and many others, mixed with some originals. “Sun Ray” was written for him and “Downside Up” is sort of a reverse melody of his famous “Threesome.” “Little Susie” is for both him and my Mom, whose name happens to be Suzie (she loved to joke that this song was written especially for her).
There will never be another pianist quite like Ray Bryant. “Sun Ray” is for him, and for all of us who will never forget his wonderful music. It’s blues. It’s jazz. It swings!
released April 3, 2012
Lenny Marcus- piano
Rick Eckberg- bass
Larry Scott- drums
Cyrus Pace- guitar
Tom Artwick- sax, flute
Scott Walter- trumpet, flugelhorn
Vladimir Espinosa- congas, percussion
Peter Ingram- drums on Sun Ray, Threesome
John Brown- bass on Sun Ray, Threesome
Art Direction & Design: Billy Chase, www.inkeyestudios.net
Cover Photo: Nell Enriquez
Recorded at Blackwater Studio, Wirtz, VA., 540.721.1413, www.bwrecording.com
and songs 3 and 6 recorded at Sound Lab, Greensboro, NC and Mixed at Flat 5 in Salem, VA
All songs ©2012 L. Marcus, BMI unless otherwise noted. Songs 3,8 and 12 by Lenny Marcus. Songs 1, 2, 5, 6, 10, 11, 13 and 14 by Ray Bryant. Song 7 by Sainte-Marie. Song 4 by Paul Clayton, Larry Ehrlich, David Lazar and Tom Six. Song 9 by Robert Bruce, Buddy Feyne, Avery Parrish.