Dave Brubeck: Live From The USA & UK

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
As Dave Brubeck attains octogenarian status this year, he still plays with the energy and imagination of a thirty-year-old. And that's no exaggeration. Would that all of us will be so creative, active and fulfilled at 80!

Brubeck's most recent album, One Alone, contains some tunes recorded in 2000. Thus, it provides greater proof of his recent recording strength than the two-CD set, Double Live From the USA & UK, does. For it turns out that Double Live From the USA & UK is a catch-up project that finally releases additional tracks recorded by the prolific Brubeck several years ago. The "USA" CD was recorded in 1995 (making Brubeck actually a mid-septuagenarian when it was recorded) at the same time that he recorded his previous Telarc album, To Hope! A Celebration at the Washington National Cathedral. The "UK" CD consists of additional tunes that Brubeck's quartet recorded during his 1998 tour of England. A hint of what was to come was revealed on Brubeck's earlier album, The 40th Anniversary Tour Of The U.K.

Brubeck's intention all along was to release these extra recordings as companions to the earlier albums. And of course, it makes a lot of sense to finally distribute them to the world as part of his eightieth-birthday celebration year.

Performing with alto saxophonist Bobby Militello, Brubeck used his familiar rhythm section of Jack Six on bass and Randy Jones on drums when he extended his performance at the Washington National Cathedral on a warm, un-airconditioned and sweaty afternoon. After Six retired in early 1998, Brubeck toured with Alec Dankworth throughout England at the recommendation of Marian McPartland.

Militello in particular adds a brightness to the quartet, and actually was inspired by Paul Desmond's approach to alto saxophone. With a more aggressive attack than Desmond, Militello still evokes the Desmond spirit through his lyrical approach to creating solos, his joyful tone and his wit in quoting familiar tunes and injecting them into his improvisations.

While the two quartets are fairly close in tempo and spirit, despite the oceanic divide between the sessions, Double Live From the USA & UK is significant in the respect that both CD's include new Brubeck compositions like "Be Natural Blues" or tunes they hadn't played before like "Margie."

All of the components of classic Brubeck performances are there: his broad block-chorded choruses, his staggering of the beat to create metrical tension, his stride implications, his originality in developing personalized modulations embellished by internal chord movement and his blending of classically trained technique with the American songbook for a unique synthesis.

Brubeck calling of unrehearsed numbers at the spur of the moment connects with the spontaneity of the audience's appreciation, and it establishes a sense of fun in both CD's. The unanticipated "Exactly Like You" starts with Brubeck's slow solo development before the other members of the quartet pick up on the tunes.

"Cherokee," which Brubeck hadn't recorded before, surprisingly turns into a tour de force for Militello. That should be no surprise since saxophonists have always risen to the challenge of the tune, but Militello stamps his own imprint on it with a dizzying flurry that holds its own to previous versions. Plus, it is quite unlike anything that Desmond would have contributed.

The USA quartet's interpretation of Brubeck's "Broadway Bossa Nova" assumes a livelier Latin attitude than what appeared on the original Mr. Broadway album, especially as a result of Six's resonant bass work. "The Things You Never Remember" reinforces Brubeck's ability to bring a ballad (of course, his own) to life with audience-engaging suspension of meter and swelling dynamics.

It seems that the consistent characteristic of the two CD's is the quartet's fun with the music. That sense of fun always elevates a performance to the realm of memorability and collectability. As a result, Double Live From the USA & UK contains 17 memorable and collectible tracks by not merely a senior statesman of jazz, but also one of the foremost developers of the genre.

Track Listing: Disk 1: Body And Soul, Cherokee, Easy To Love, What Will I Tell My Heart, Sunny Side Of The Street, The Things You Never Remember, Broadway Bossa Nova, Don't Worry About Me; Take Five

Disk 2: Margie, Waltzing, Marian McPartland, Exactly Like You, Three To Get Ready, Take Five, Take The A Train, Be Natural Blues

Personnel: Dave Brubeck, piano; Bobby Militello, alto sax; Jack Six, Alec Dankworth, bass; Randy Jones, drums

| Record Label: Telarc Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Factory Girl" CD/LP/Track Review Factory Girl
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 22, 2016
Read "Connection" CD/LP/Track Review Connection
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 11, 2016
Read "Triangular III" CD/LP/Track Review Triangular III
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 15, 2016
Read "Friday Night in San Francisco" CD/LP/Track Review Friday Night in San Francisco
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: September 4, 2016
Read "A Room of One's Own" CD/LP/Track Review A Room of One's Own
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 8, 2016
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Troy Collins
Published: January 26, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!