Dave Brubeck's newest album is titled The Crossing
. Whether there is some deep allegorical meaning here is unclear. God knows, at this stage of this man's career he needs neither metaphors nor affirmation. Having performed in each of the last seven decades, Brubeck has passed the greatest and sternest test of all, time. He's here with still another quartet from which he gets the most pleasing, mellifluous stream of musical outpouring. Often criticized and diminished by elitist critics and jealous and mostly not very talented jazzers, he can sit back, smile and say "where are they all now?". This album is a set of engaging Brubeck compositions, covering a wide spectrum of style and tempi such as the slightly Latinized Bessie written in honor of his mother and a vehicle for Bobby Militello's flute. "Chasin' Yourself" is reminiscent, probably unintentionally, of the early days when Paul Desmond alto's was an essential cog in Brubeck's quartets. Militello plays in a more modern manner than Desmond, but he has the dry sound that recalls that laid back, cool altoist of yore. The inspiration for "Randy Jones" is obvious. His drums have been the rhythmic mainstay for Brubeck's group for the last 20 years. And so it goes. Each one of the nine tracks is Brubeck incarnate, rapturous, rhapsodic and remarkable. It is quite presumptuous for me (and perhaps any album commentator) to write about a Brubeck album these days. That falls into the same category as Moms Mabley's famous observation that "the only thing an old man can do for me is bring me a message from a young one". The only thing a jazz writer can do with regard to Brubeck is to help spread the word that he has another album on the street.
Personnel: Dave Brubeck - Piano; Bobby Militello - Alto Sax/Flute; Alec Dankworth - Bass; Randy Jones - Drums