“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.