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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke

The DAVE BRUBECK collection  Columbia/Legacy

Jazz Red Hot and Cool (1954/5)
Columbia/Legacy CK 61468
Crotchet
 

  1. Lover
  2. Little Girl Blue
  3. Fare Thee Well, Annabelle
  4. Sometimes I'm Happy
  5. The Duke
  6. Indiana
  7. Love Walked In
  8. Taking a Chance on Love
  9. Closing Time Blues

Dave Brubeck - Piano  Paul Desmond - Alto   Bob Bates - Bass   Joe Dodge - Drums

 

 Jazz Impressions of Japan (1964)
Columbia/Legacy CK 65726
Crotchet
 

  1. Tokyo Traffic
  2. Rising sun
  3. Toki's theme
  4. Fujiama
  5. Zen is When
  6. The City is Crying
  7. Osaka Blues
  8. Koto Song

Dave Brubeck - Piano  Paul Desmond - Alto   Eugene Wright - Bass   Joe Morello - Drums

The Dave Brubeck Quartet at Carnegie Hall (1963)
Columbia/Legacy C2K 61455
Crotchet
 

Disc 1
  1. St. Louis Blues
  2. Bossa Nova USA
  3. For All we Know
  4. Pennies from Heaven
  5. Southern Scene
  6. Three to Get Ready
Disc 2
  1. Eleven Four
  2. It's a Raggy Waltz
  3. King for a Day
  4. Castilian Drums
  5. Blue Rondo a la Turk
  6. Take Five

Dave Brubeck - Piano   Paul Desmond - Alto   Eugene Wright - Bass   Joe Morello - Drums

Vocal Encounters Dave Brubeck
Columbia/Legacy CK 61551
Crotchet
 

  1. That Old Black Magic - Tony Bennett
  2. Summer Song - Louis Armstrong
  3. My Melancholy Baby - Jimmy Rushing
  4. It's a Raggy Waltz - Carmen McCrae
  5. The Real Ambassador - Louis Armstrong, Lambert Hendricks & Ross
  6. My One Bad habit - Carmen McCrae
  7. Because All Men are Brothers - Peter, Paul and Mary
  8. There'll be some Changes made - Jimmy Rushing
  9. Weep No More - Carmen McCrae
  10. Cultural Exchange - Louis Armstrong. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
  11. Travelin' Blues - Carmen McCrae
  12. Ain't Misbehavin' - Jimmy Rushing
  13. They Say I Look Like God - Louis Armstrong, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
  14. In the Lurch - Carmen McCrae
  15. Autumn in our Town - Ranny Sinclair
  16. Since Love Had Its Way - Louis Armstrong
  17. Blues in the Dark - Jimmy Rushing
  18. Take Five - Carmen McCrae

Dave Brubeck - Piano  Paul Desmond - Alto   Eugene Wright - Bass   Joe Morello - Drums

The timing of my receiving of these albums could not have been better, it caused me to review my thoughts on the Dave Brubeck Quartet, which I had first heard on record whilst in the RAF in Germany in 1955. At the time I was into Be-Bop in a big way and compared to my heroes of the time Charlie Parker and Oscar Peterson, the music sounded insipid. That stupid prejudice has stayed with me for a long time, but having had this opportunity to listen to the work of the Quartet again, I have thankfully put it behind me and I congratulate COLUMBIA on re-releasing no less than 17 albums in the 'Dave Brubeck Collection'.

I had a short stay in hospital recently and as I always listen to jazz to lift my spirits, I took a number of old favourite CD's with me to listen to whilst I had to lay flat in bed post operation. I also took the Carnegie Hall Concert Double CD of the Brubeck Quartet and what a surprise, I found the music totally enthralling. The whimsical Desmond Alto, the superb rhythms of Joe Morello and Eugene Wright who anchor the beat whilst Dave himself explores the music in a way that only he can. The spirits were well and truly lifted and I returned home a Brubeck quartet fan eager to listen to the other three albums, which contained more musical delights.

The Red Hot and Cool Album was made on one of the Quartet's first New York performances at the popular 'Basin St.' jazz club. This session was pre Morello/Wright and whilst Bob Bates and Joe Dodge do a good job, the other Bass/Drum combination was one of the finest that jazz has ever produced. The album however is very good; it is mostly standards but Brubeck's most famous composition

'The Duke' which has been regularly played by both Oscar Peterson and George Shearing is introduced here. The ability of the Quartet to play counterpoint is shown on many tracks and the abilities of Brubeck and Desmond in this respect, have only been equalled by the first Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker. The CD includes two extra tracks from the LP original and both Taking a Chance and Closing Time Blues are worthy of preservation. It is interesting to note that the original masters had been lost from the archives and the music had to be re-created, apart from the tracks that had not been used! Congratulation to Columbia on the recovery!

Jazz Impressions of Japan is, apart from one track, all Bruebeck original compositions. No doubt it was Dave's thorough grounding in Classical Music at college that enables him to be such a prolific composer, it probably also accounts for his ability to play unusual time signatures with such ease, not many jazzers choose to play in 7/4 or 9/8! Some of the chord sequences I suspect have been borrowed from other tunes, but that's normal in the jazz world.

The 'piece de resistance' here is undoubtedly the Carnegie Hall Concert; this is one of the all time great live jazz performances. The capacity audience responded enthusiastically to the band, who lift their performance to an even higher plane because of that enthusiasm. The concert starts with the Bruebeck original interpretation of St' Louis Blues' and covers the whole gambit of the Quartet at it's very best. If you only ever buy one Brubeck record, make it this one.

'Vocal Encounters' is great fun, if you put any quality singer with an excellent jazz quartet, the result will always pleased. The amazing thing about the artists of this standard is that they don't need months of rehearsal to be able to do it!

A glance at the list of artists tells you that these are quality singers and I enjoyed every track. The outstanding best of the best has to be Carmen McCrae who was so unlucky to be around when Ella and Sarah were in their hay-day; she is of equal ability. Once again Dave Brubeck provides original material for the singers to sing, with lyrics from his wife Iola Brubeck. People thought at the time Louis Armstrong and Dave Brubeck recorded together, that there ideology was too far apart and the results would not be good. How wrong they were Dave and Louis were natural soul mates and both artists enjoyed the experience enormously.

Don Mather



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