Brubeck Brothers Quartet at the Douglas Beach House, Half Moon Bay, California

Bill Leikam By

Sign in to view read count
Brubeck Brothers Quartet
Douglas Beach House
Half Moon Bay, California
October 25th, 2009

Sunday, October 25, became a memorable day at the Douglas Beach House (aka Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society) when the Brubeck Brothers Quartet Quartet arrived on stage with Chris Brubeck on electric bass and trombone, Dan Brubeck on drums, Mike DeMicco on guitar and Chuck Lamb on piano. As the audience gathered, some wondered whether their father Dave Brubeck might make an appearance. Chris Brubeck humorously nipped that hope in the bud from the very beginning of the concert, making it appear as though this expectation is common whenever the Brubeck brothers gather.

With their opening tune "West of One," written by guitarist Mike DeMicco and recorded on their album Intuition, the quartet proved one of the tightest to appear at the Beach House in a long time. The musicians knew their music: it had become a part of them, as was further attested when they did not use sheet music. (One exception occurred in their second set, and it showed.) Chris plays his bass in a unique style. Normally, the audience sees the bass tucked away in the back of the band. Rarely is it at the head of the stage, leading the way through the number, but that's how it was positioned. As the pace quickened, Chris turned to his pianist Chuck Lamb, and the two of them played off of one another, smiling back and forth, each appreciating what the other was doing.

From their album Classified (Koch International, 2008) they played "Dance of the Shadows." The tune began oddly, as though no one was playing from the same page. Dan Brubeck, on the drums, came in intermittently, hitting hard and drowning out the rest of the group. However, that imbalance didn't last long, as Chuck Lamb brought it all together with a Latin melody. He and guitarist DeMicco fused and laid down a Brazilian sound while the two Brubeck brothers tastefully followed. The ensemble launched into a high-energy, rapid phase of the piece and then came down soft and smooth. These four musicians are not only expressive but also impressive individually and collectively.

The band showed a special skill for taking their audience through laid-back mellow passages, then suddenly launching into high intensity music. Their tunes are varied; consequently, the listener does not feel as though each successive number is simply a modification of something already heard. This programming keeps listeners anticipating what might come next, drawing them into the heart of the music. For instance, in "Cool on the Coast" by Chuck Lamb, the pianist began with a tender solo, but as soon as this part had established itself, he quickened the pace, the other band members sliding into the piece and urging the intensity even higher but with the piano now accenting the guitar's harmony. Finally, near the end of the piece, with everyone still playing, Lamb broke from playing the keyboard, stroked the piano strings, and suddenly there was silence. It was completely unexpected.

The rewards are ample when attending a performance by the Brubeck Brothers Quartet. It feels as though this group not only enjoys playing together but that they are a perfect match in their complementing of each other. Listeners of their album Classified will appreciate this special empathy, as most of the concert was based on this release. When all had been said and done, the audience rose to its feet and gave extended applause. No doubt, most assumed they would do an encore, but they left the stage.


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Earl Thomas At Biscuits & Blues Live Reviews Earl Thomas At Biscuits & Blues
by Walter Atkins
Published: July 22, 2017
Read My Morning Jacket on The Green At Shelburne Museum Live Reviews My Morning Jacket on The Green At Shelburne Museum
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Garana Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Garana Jazz Festival 2017
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Sarajevo Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Sarajevo Jazz Festival 2016
by Francesco Martinelli
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "David Grisman Sextet at Chautauqua Auditorium" Live Reviews David Grisman Sextet at Chautauqua Auditorium
by Geoff Anderson
Published: August 20, 2016
Read "Michele Hendricks at Sunset Jazz Club" Live Reviews Michele Hendricks at Sunset Jazz Club
by Patricia Myers
Published: August 9, 2016
Read "Yes at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury" Live Reviews Yes at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: August 13, 2016
Read "2017 Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland" Live Reviews 2017 Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: July 3, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.