In this discography of jazz trumpeter Ruby Braff (1927-2003), Hustad intends to make all of Braff's extensive recording history available in one easy-to-use resource. Braff is known for his unique style and for having one of the longest recording histories in jazz history-from 1949-2002. In that span of 54 years Braff played on more than 105 released recordings. The book is first and foremost a discography of Braff's commercial and undocumented performances, with many of the entries providing extensive annotations. The book also serves as a biography to Braff's life as it provides details of the musician's life as a performer and includes personal memories from others in the field. The 22 chapters are names to indicate various periods of Braff's life and career; for example, "Ruby's Growing Jazz Stardom," "Tony Bennett and the New York Club," and "Ruby's Final Tour: Honoring His Audience until the End." The work concludes with an appendix of album notes, and musician and song indexes. This volume is a valuable addition to this series and will be a worthwhile purchase for academic and large public libraries. American Reference Books Annual A fascinating document, invaluable not only for those who regarded Ruby as one of the marvels of jazz - it is also a chronicle of one man's fierce determination to create beauty in a world that sometimes seemed oblivious to it. Many large-scale works of scholarship are thorough but cold, and the reader feels the chill. Others have adulation intrude on the purpose of the work. Tom Hustad's book is an ideal mixture of scholarship, diligence, and warm affection: its qualities in an admirable balance. I think the only way this book could have been improved would have been for Ruby to continue on past 2002 and the book to follow him. Jazz Lives Hustad's dedication to documenting the life and music of Ruby Braff has earned him a special place in the writing of jazz history. Yes, he gives us the facts, lots of them, but it is the picture that we find in Hustad's commentary of this complex and uniquely talented man of principle whom he could truly call a friend that makes this volume special. Anyone with a taste for good music cannot help but be affected by the musical genius of Ruby Braff, and Hustad has gone a long way to making us understand that this was a man who had a lot of natural talent, but it was the inner forces that drove him to the top of his field. Jersey Jazz Born to Play is another noteworthy volume in the highly acclaimed Studies In Jazz series...Quite simply that means that this book meets all criteria as an authoritative jazz discography and reference work for all time. Personally I can say that since I have purchased this book I have spent many enjoyable hours checking my record shelves and searching for missing items on the internet. Recommendation-wise this one deserves 5 stars all around! The IAJRC Journal As far as I know Tom Hustad's book is unique in jazz literature. There have been famous and worthy attempts at day-by-day books on Goodman, Henderson and Ellington, but thanks to modern technology and Hustad's assiduous pursuit of his subject, none to rival this one. Because everything about Ruby was so vivid, the book, read in conjunction with listening to his music, brings Ruby back to life in an almost supernatural way. Jazz Journal Thomas P. Hustad's exhaustive book attempts to document not only every known record date, but also every broadcast, private recording, performance and interview, a seemingly impossible task. The author also collected and reviewed many of the unissued performances. Hustad's research includes interview transcriptions, excerpts of previously published reviews and articles, along with period advertisements for bookings, all meticulously footnoted. The result is a comprehensive, critical look at Braff's career...Hustad's book is not a fast read, but one that serious Ruby Braff fans will savor as they learn new facets of his career and seek out additional LPs, CDs and broadcasts featuring him that circulate among collectors. The New York City Jazz Record Hustad's book is much more than a compilation of recording session information and performance dates and locations, for interspersed with that data are biographical information, excerpts from reviews, and commentary by the author. For the Braff admirer - count me among them! - the volume serves not only as an essential reference but as a treasure house that provides immense pleasure and rewards in simply browsing in it. -- W. Royal Stokes A glorious labor of love, this massive volume makes a substantial contribution to documenting the musical life of one too long absent from the history books. The work's inclusive scope and the thorough research that went into its making are exemplary and deserve to be emulated by others involved in similar projects. It is hoped that the existence of this resource will inspire more to investigate Braff's life and music. Association for Recorded Sound Collections Journal (ARSC Journal) [Born to Play] is truly much more than a mere discography. It contains not only the dates and titles of all of Braff's recordings, but lists all of the performances that the author found documented and includes passages from articles and reviews, too. Thus between prosaic lists of ensemble members and repertories emerges a portrait of a musician on the go, an extraordinarily active musician who not only performed with the great names in swing, but who also enjoyed competing with musicians from other genres. Jazzinstitut Darmstadt [I]f you are a fan of Braff or even the mainstream genre...you really should pick up this work. It will give you many evenings of relaxed reading...The author, Tom Hustad, seems to have had the cooperation of Mr. Braff, certainly a feat in itself. In addition the author seems to have referenced and quoted from many interviews and press items of Braff. There are some wonderful stories here...This is just a wonderful bio-discography...It's outstanding! Cadence Magazine
About the Author
Thomas P. Hustad is retired university professor. He was instrumental in the development of the world's leading association of new products professionals. He is listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World and received numerous teaching awards.