Unlike other unearthed discoveries from seminal jazz musicians, pianist Dave Brubeck's Lullabies(Verve, 2020) is not an extension of studio material from his quartet years with alto saxophone master Paul Desmond or a bootlegged recording caught in a nightclub setting. In contrast, archival recordings uncovered since 2018 by other seminal artists such as John Coltrane on Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album( Verve, 2018), Stan Getz on Getz at the Gate: The Stan Getz Quartet Live at the Village Gate, Nov. 26, 1961( Verve, 2019) and Thelonious Monk on Palo Alto(Impulse Records, 2020), the material has added to an established reputation or offered a directional change for the musician. Brubeck's release is a departure in a personal way.
Verve has released a selection of previously unavailable recordings by jazz pianist icon Dave Brubeck which offer a collection of interpretations of beloved childhood melodies. Originally composed and recorded for his grandchildren, Brubeck brings a lovely lightness and simple crispness to the chordal phrasing of each familiar song. Such material runs the risk of sounding too sentimental, but Brubeck brings his own style and approach. A jazz twist on "Brahms Lullaby" accentuates the modern while maintaining the traditional arrangement of the song. A little moment of stride-style piano and jazz romp occurs on "When It's Sleepy Time Down South." On "Over the Rainbow," Brubeck uses a slower tempo that enhances the vocalization of chords and makes you hear the lyrics in your head, sustained.
The album also contains five original tracks: "Going To Sleep" "Lullaby For lola," "Koto Song," "Softly, William, Softly" and "Briar Bush" The soft and dream-like melody of "Koto Song" with its nursery rhyme keyboard octaves and seductive pace could calm a storm. A brighter and almost night club-style ballad is revealed on "Briar Bush," which finishes with a keyboard tickle. The most contemplative composition, "Going to Sleep," uses sparse chords with a Bill Evans-like structure that is pure reflective and peaceful.
Lullabies is truly a nostalgic listening adventure, surprising the familiar with a jazzy re-invigoration of arrangements and bolstered by originals that blend right into the set. On this private recording, Brubeck provides yet another unique musical point of view.
Brahms Lullaby; When It's Sleepy Time Down South; Over The Rainbow; Danny Boy; Going To Sleep; There's No Place Like Home; Lullaby For Iola; Koto Song; All Through The Night; Softly Wlliam Softly; A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes; Briar Bush; Sleep; Summertime; Brahms Lullaby (Reprise).
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