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The Dave Brubeck Quartet: The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Live From The Northwest, 1959


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The Dave Brubeck Quartet: The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Live From The Northwest, 1959
Like Elemental Music's previously unheard Bill Evans' set, Tales: Live in Copenhagen (1964), The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Live From The Northwest, 1959 may not hold the historical weight of other posthumous Brubeck releases, but it certainly displays the effortless virtuosity and invention the quartet brought to every gig, large or small, far and wide and in-between.

Just months before Brubeck, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, bassist Eugene Wright, and drummer Joe Morello would set the music world alight with Time Out (Columbia, 1959), Wally Heider (who literally defined and perfected the art of live recording) packed his trusted Ampex 350-2 tape recorder into his station wagon, followed Brubeck's entourage to Portland, Oregon, settled into the city's historic Multnomah Hotel and let the tape roll.

Those performances which Heider caught are heard right here for the first time and it is a thing of lasting beauty. The quartet kicks things off with the only known classic quartet performance of an impossibly bouncing and burbling "When The Saints Go Marching In." Swinging left, right, and sideways, the four seemingly defy gravity while bringing the spirit of master Dixieland ambassador Louis Armstrong to the mix. Perhaps to keep the upswinging Armstrong vibe alive, "Basin City Blues" (which the trumpeter first recorded in 1928) is taken at a relaxed roll, each member of the quartet finding his zone.

Desmond freely reels off improvised melody after melody on the even more relaxed "These Foolish Things." "Gone with the Wind," the first of three performances from Clark College, is the embodiment of Brubeck cool. Morello snaps on his brushes as Wright walks briskly, holding the center around which Desmond dips and dives as Brubeck's sparkling solo flips on and over itself.

As one of the two CD bonus tracks, "Multnomah Blues" is just that, a bonus which keeps on giving. The first of two Brubeck originals, the tune is light, loose, and bluesy, a true vehicle for quartet invention with each player trading off to and from the others. Wright and Brubeck lay down the template, Morello is on cruise control and the crowd loves it. The other Brubeck title "Two Part Contention" with its winsome counterpoint and inspired variations and the quartet's sparse reading of "The Lonesome Road" closes out the disc and is simply one of the profound reasons people came out night after night to hear this music; the potential for greatness is never far from the bandstand.

Track Listing

When the Saints Go Marching In; Basin Street Blues; These Foolish Things (Bonus. Track CD/digital); Gone With the Wind; Multnomah Blues (8:40) (Bonus. Track CD/digital);Two Part Contention; The Lonesome Road.


Album information

Title: The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Live From The Northwest, 1959 | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Brubeck Editions


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