Like all the other concerts within the last 60 years, all the miles logged and all the other countries traveled, this one was for Iola.
Bringing an end to the 20th edition of the TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival, piano legend Dave Brubeck and his Quartet opened to the sellout crowd with a rendition of "Gone with Wind." By the third song Brubeck approached the microphone to explain the origins of "London Flat, London Sharp," from the 2005 Telarc album of the same name. When traveling on the road, a complaint filed to the booking agents elicited a response to having a London flat as London sharpclassic Brubeck.
The first three songs were dedicated to the rain gods and there appears to be stormy weather wherever the Dave Brubeck Quartet goes. Saxophonist and flutist for one song, "Yes, We All Have Crosses to Bear," Bobby Militello played himself, not the late Paul Desmond and, with addition of Michael Moore on bass and Randy Jones on drums, the new songs from London Flat, London Sharp sounded exciting.
The crowd sat excited, waiting for the big one. "Take Five" has not changed that much over its 47-year existence. Sure there have been countless versions, lyrics added and big band treatments applied, but to see the master and the fellows play it brought the crowd to its feet. Militello added a few notes into the traditional Desmond theme to make it his own while Jones kept the audience enthused with his drum solo.
After the standing ovation for "Take Five," the quartet finished the set with "Take The A Train" by Duke Ellington. They stood beside the piano, arm in arm, took a bow and left the stage. Brubeck returned for one quick solo piano number, "Lullaby." Nobody was leaving.
At the age of 85 Brubeck is still going strong. From touring around the world to promote London Flat, London Sharp to his love for music in general whether it is jazz or choral works, Brubeck continues to write, amaze and teach younger generations. Leaving the hall and looking at the sky, there was a paper moon but it felt real.
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