All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

3

Brubeck Brothers Quartet at Arizona Musicfest

Patricia Myers By

Sign in to view read count
Brubeck Brothers Quartet
Arizona Musicfest
Highlands Church
Scottsdale, Arizona
February 7, 2014

Those Brubeck boys really nailed it at Arizona Musicfest, performing a concert-with-commentary tribute that traced their famed father's six-decade career. Dave Brubeck's musical and personal history was celebrated by trombonist-bassist Chris Brubeck and drummer Dan Brubeck, playing his hits and telling the tales behind them, with photos and videos shown on a pair of big screens.

Brubeck's two biggest hits, "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk," brought the strongest response from the audience of 1,600. With "our honorary brothers" (per Chris) Mike DeMicco on guitar and Chuck Lamb on piano, the quartet also played vintage hits including the elegant "Someday My Prince Will Come" from the LP Dave Digs Disney (All Music, 1957).

Chris said the deep groove of "Blues for Newport" was written by their father "in five minutes just before he performed it with Jack Stix on bass and Alan Dawson on drums" at the 1971 Newport Jazz Festival. Other charts with family tales were "For Iola" (Dave's wife) and "Kathy's Waltz," for his only daughter.

The brothers first performed "Bossa Nova USA" as a trio with their dad in 1993. Chris recalled, "It was written in four but we played it in five," referencing Dave's fondness for odd time signatures. The tender instrumental ballad "In Your Own Sweet Way" opened with a duet of Chris on trombone and Lamb infusing dual acoustic and electric piano riffs, followed by a stunning guitar solo by DeMicco.

The quartet, just back from a tour of Japan, played several selections from its 2012 Life Times CD (Artist, 2012). The album was released six months before Dave's death on Dec. 5, which was one day before his 92nd birthday, and prompted tribute performances by the quartet at five major festivals last year. Among the charts was "Jazzanians," which Dan said was written in honor of the so-named multiracial South African student band led by eldest brother Darius.

Chris told how Dave's original "My One Bad Habit" was inspired by a remark that Ella Fitzgerald once made to Dave ("My one bad habit is falling in love") and was sung by Carmen McRae on Dave and Iola Brubeck's 1961 The Real Ambassadors (Columbia). The quartet also explored "The Duke," an Ellington tribute first recorded by Dave in 1955 that showcased the Brubeck tradition of varying time signatures and tempo changes.

The much anticipated "Take Five" was sparked by Dan Brubeck's second-line New Orleans groove in 5/4, and later an extended percussion solo backed only by Chris' repetitive bass line that originally was their father's left-hand work. The 15-minute rendition was an exemplary example of their father's everlasting gift to the sound of jazz.

The most riveting video was of Dave and Iola at the White House when he was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2009. It was on his 89th birthday, an event that included a surprise performance by four of his five sons, Chris and Dan, with Darius on piano and Matthew on cello. When the award was presented, President Barack Obama recalled a 1971 concert Brubeck had given in Honolulu, saying, "You can't understand America without understanding jazz, and you can't understand jazz without understanding Dave Brubeck."

For the fourth year, the non-profit Arizona Musicfest will award an annual $2,500 scholarship to a graduating high school senior who has excelled in music performance.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Timeline

Timeline

Blue Forest Records
2018

buy
LifeTimes

LifeTimes

Blue Forest Records
2012

buy
Classified

Classified

KOCH International Jazz
2008

buy
Intuition

Intuition

KOCH International Jazz
2006

buy

Related Articles

Read The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra at Greer Cabaret Theater Live Reviews
The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra at Greer Cabaret Theater
by Mackenzie Horne
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Enjoy Jazz 2018 Live Reviews
Enjoy Jazz 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Jazz for all Ages Live Reviews
Jazz for all Ages
by Martin McFie
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Baku Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Baku Jazz Festival 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 13, 2018
Read Joanna Pascale at Chris' Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Joanna Pascale at Chris' Jazz Cafe
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 13, 2018
Read Moldejazz 2018 Live Reviews
Moldejazz 2018
by Martin Longley
Published: November 10, 2018
Read "The Magpie Salute At The Grand Point North Festival 2018" Live Reviews The Magpie Salute At The Grand Point North Festival 2018
by Doug Collette
Published: September 23, 2018
Read "Terence Blanchard at Christ Church Cranbrook" Live Reviews Terence Blanchard at Christ Church Cranbrook
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 29, 2017
Read "Andy Hague Quintet at The Bronx Bar" Live Reviews Andy Hague Quintet at The Bronx Bar
by Barry Witherden
Published: June 10, 2018