The first music that Darius Brubeck became familiar with was jazz, which is not surprising given the family he was born into. Brubeck studied the music and played it along with his father Dave and his brothers Chris and Dan as well as his own groups. Brubeck, however, did not confine himself to that one form; he expanded his repertoire with several styles including Indian and African music, rock and folk. Moreover, he played electronic piano and the synthesizer. His interest has determined the expanse of his music.
On For Lydia and the Lion, the quartet played all the music twice in the studio to replicate the live feel of its concerts. Some of the takes were edited to get the best. After all was played and done, the result is a record that is not only rife with underlying passion, but also possesses a wide spectrum of music that makes for enjoyable listening.
The quartet melds the charming melody and rhythm of "Tsakwe" to a nicety. Mike Rossi draws deeply from the melody and while this nails the thrills, his improvisations cut a deeper furrow of attraction. Brubeck ruminates in the melody before opening a stream of lithe ideas that he pegs with emphatic block chords. The rhythm section adds to the captivation with Wesley Gibbens striking a sprightly beat and Matt Ridley plugging a limber bass line.
"The Lion at the Bar" is a happy creature as the band goes on a rock 'n' roll romp. Brubeck is content to comp behind Rossi who shows some swagger before he digs in and begins to swing. Brubeck comes in to indulge in the melody for all its ripeness, pushing the parameters just enough to add a fetching tensility.
"For Lydia" has a lissome line that is first exploited by Rossi. He impacts it with hard phrasing on his explorations and then revisits the inherent tenderness. Brubeck casts a soft light, his gentle ministrations enhancing the warmth.
For Lydia and the Lion profiles the distinct approach of the Darius Brubeck quartet, and its considerable skill as well.
Personnel: Darius Brubeck: piano, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer electric pianos; Mike Rossi: Rampone and Cazzani handmade Italian saxophones; Matt Ridley: bass; Wesley Gibbens: drums.