When considering something as seriously artistic as jazz, it is often overlooked that said music is to be enjoyed as well as appreciated. The key operative in enjoy is joy, and multi- instrumentalist Chris Brubeck and his merry band Tripleplay are obviously full of it. Live at Arthur Zankel Music Center was recorded at Skidmore College during the 2011 Saratoga Artsfest, capturing Brubeck's side project at full wind. This concert is a brand of blues and jazz with absolutely no regard for serious genre purists who have no sense of humor. It is the product of superb musicians out to have a good time.
As good as "Blue Rondo a la Turk" and "Take Five" are (featuring pianist Dave Brubeck) it is the group's interpretation of Robert Johnson's rarely covered "Phonograph Blues" that jumps the moon. A salacious double entendre in the original, Tripleplay transforms the song into a(n) (almost) harmless romp propelled by Peter Madcat Ruth's blues ukulele and Joel Brown's compressed and tight acoustic guitar. Ruth sings con brio, giving the song an emotive momentum not often afforded Johnson songs acoustically. Yeah...that and 85-year old Frankie Brown's slippery clarinet accompaniment and solo. This is the way to perform and, in turn, listen to music.
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Chris Brubeck: bass, trombone, piano, vocals; Joel Brown: guitar,
Peter Mudcat Ruth: ukulele, harmonica, vocals; Dave Brubeck: piano;
Frank Brown: clarinet.
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