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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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DAVE BRUBECK

Three Classic Albums Plus

Avid AMSC 998

 

 


CD1
1. Blue Rondo à La Turk
2. Strange Meadow Lark
3. Take Five
4. Three to Get Ready
5. Kathy's Waltz
6. Everybody's Jumpin'
7. Pick Up Sticks
8. Nomad
9. Brandenburg Gate
10. The Golden Horn
11. Thank You
12. Marble Arch
13. Calcutta Blues

CD2
1. On the Alamo
2. Don't Worry `bout Me
3. Here Lies Love
4. Gone with the Wind
5. When You're Smiling
6. Back Bay Blues
7. Makin' Time
8. Ode to a Cowboy
9. Summer Song
10. Yonder for Two
11. History of a Boy Scout

The above are from the albums:
Time Out CD1, tracks 1 to 7
Jazz Impressions of Eurasia CD1, 8 to 13
Dave Brubeck at Storyville 1954 CD2, tracks 1 to 6
I Like Jazz CD2, track 7
Jazz Impressions of the USA CD2, tracks 8 to 11

Dave Brubeck - Piano
Paul Desmond - Alto Sax
Ron Crotty, Bob Bates, Norman Bates, Joe Benjamin, Eugene Wright - Bass
Joe Dodge, Joe Morello - Drums

 

Dave Brubeck has always pushed the jazz boundaries and he is still doing so. His latest quartet is sensational, but then so was everything he ever did! This reissue features the quartet with Paul Desmond, whose lyrical alto sounds were just as essential to its success, as was the piano playing of its leader. Desmond is instantly recognisable: he had a unique sound which has never been repeated and his playing was a perfect foil for Brubeck. Together they created lyrical but exciting jazz - so much so that, whenever you hear them together, you instantly know who you are listening to. Both were composers as well as musicians, and their compositions now form part of the standard jazz library.

Brubeck always had the best people in his band - in fact he still does. For a brief period after Desmond left, Gerry Mulligan took over the front-line role and that worked well also. Joe Morello set a style with the original quartet that Dave has always followed. When I first heard Morello with the quartet at the Coventry Theatre in the 1950s, I was astounded that any drummer could create so much swing with so little noise, whilst playing in such an inventive fashion.

The first seven tracks are well known to everyone who is into jazz, but I had not heard them for a while and what a delight it was to hear them again. If you are feeling a bit down, play them, relax and listen: they lighten the mood immediately. Perhaps they should be on prescription! The remaining tracks on CD1 are all Brubeck compositions and draw more heavily on Dave's classical training on piano, but they are equally interesting compositions and although I was less familiar with them, I enjoyed them greatly. Desmond responds to the challenge of the new compositions brilliantly and the original rhythm section continues to lay down the beat in a neat and swinging way.

When I first heard the group, I must confess that it was not one of my favourites. I had been sold on Charlie Parker and the beboppers and I did not appreciate fully what Dave and his band were creating. To anyone of a similar inclination, I recommend the purchase of this album; it will surprise me if you don't become a convert like me!

Recorded in 1953/4, live at the Storyville Night Club in the Copley Square Hotel in Boston, the first six tracks of CD2 have a different sound from anything on CD1. To start off with, the ambient noise is quite high and the recording quality not very good at all. On the Alamo seems to ramble on for ever. Things improve on track 2, however, when Paul Desmond is heard at his best playing Don't Worry About Me but the general balance of the recording is still somewhat suspect. In the original sleeve-note, Dave said that the band played differently to small club audiences than they did in concert halls. On this showing, concert halls and recording studios are more their forte.

Things return to normality by track seven however, and we find ourselves back with the quartet sounding like it should, playing Dave's tuneful compositions. Yonder for Two is Dave's tribute to the early New Orleans jazz musicians, using a chord sequence similar to those used at that time. It is a great success and brings the best out of everybody.

This double CD contains a lot of very fine music and it is nice to have it all together in this form. My only version of Time Out was on vinyl!

Don Mather



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