Dave Brubeck: For All Time (2004)
Time has been kind to Dave Brubeck. Still active, touring and prodigiously writing new material, he has never looked back and rested on his laurels. For those who missed what the fuss was about the first time around, this five-CD box set is a great place to start. This is a band that was breaking barriers all around. It was one of the few integrated touring bands. It featured one of the few alto saxophonists not influenced by Charlie Parker. And it broke down the restrictions of a strict 4/4 beat by experimenting with "exotic" rhythms such as 5/4, 7/4 and 9/4. Not only did they play to their own beat, but they made it accessible. Paul Desmond's "Take Five" is arguably one of jazz's best known, and loved songs; for the simple reason that all of the music on this collection lasts, it's intelligent and enjoyable.
Recorded between 1959-65, these discs are not all that Brubeck's "classic" quartet laid down during this period (missing are Brandenburg Gate: Revisited, Angel Eyes , and the unforgettable The Dave Brubeck Quartet at Carnegie Hall ). Also, there is no booklet included with extra notes or essays putting the music into perspective. There are a few bonus takes, but none are on the essential list. None, frustratingly, are from Time Out. Two of the CDs are still in print, so your question has to be whether you want the three previously out of print CDs: Time In, Countdown: Time in Outer Space , and Time Changes.
Time Changes is the most distinct of the CDs, as it has the quartet accompanied by an orchestra. For the most part, it works exceedingly well. "Iberia" and "Elementals" stand up well over time, and Desmond's alto is one of music's great wonders. It startles the mind to think his sound hasn't been more imitated. Maybe, as with Johnny Hodges, some works of art must just be left alone.
Countdown and Time In , both overshadowed by Time Out , are as good compositionally if not better. These sessions contain no major hits, but creative swing changing gears. Also featured is a delicious take on "Someday My Prince Will Come." Time Out and Time Further Out need no description. It is safe to assume that every jazz fan has heard one or the other. If not, check out the set. And take the time to enjoy it.
Track Listing: Disc 1 (Time Out) 1. Blue Rondo A La Turk 2. Strange Meadowlark 3. Take Five 4. Three To Get Ready 5. Kathy's Waltz 6. Everybody's Jumpin' 7. Pick Up Sticks
Disc 2 (Time Further Out) 1. It's A Raggy Waltz 2. Bluette 3. Charles Mathew Halleujah 4. Far More Blue 5. Far More Drums 6. Maori Blues 7. Unsquare Dance 8. Bru's Boogie Woogie 9. Blue Shadows In The Street 10. Slow And Easy 11. It's A Raggy Waltz (Live At Carnegie Hall)
Disc 3 (Countdown: Time In Outer Space) 1. Countdown 2. Eleven Four 3. Why Phillis Waltz 4. Someday My Prince Will Come 5. Castilian Blues 6. Castilian Drums 7. Fast Life 8. Waltz Limp 9. Three's A Crowd 10. Dance Duet 11. Back To Earth 12. Fatha
Disc 4 (Time Changes) 1. Iberia 2. Unisphere 3. Shim Wha 4. World's Fair 5. Cable Car 6. Theme From Elementals 7. Elementals
Disc 5 (Time In) 1. Lost Waltz 2. Softly, William, Softley 3. Time In 4. Forty Days 5. Travellin' Blues 6. He Done Her Wrong 7. Lonesome 8. Cassandra 9. Rude Old Man 10. Who Said That? 11. Watusi Drums
Personnel: Dave Brubeck Quartet: Dave Brubeck (piano); Paul Desmond (alto saxophone); Eugene Wright (bass); Joe Morello (drums).