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Brubeck Brothers Quartet: Timeline

Dr. Judith Schlesinger By

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This album by the Brubeck Brothers—led by Chris and Dan Brubeck, sons of legendary pianist Dave Brubeck—commemorates the 60th anniversary of "President Eisenhower's Special International Program for Cultural Presentations," the 1958 State department tour in which prominent jazz musicians traveled to 14 countries to give 80 concerts in 90 days. This grueling schedule was endured by such luminaries as Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, and the Dave Brubeck. For Brubeck, the inspiration was mutual, reflected in compositions that incorporated the local musical traditions he was hearing. Several of these are included on this record. Probably the most well-known is "Blue Rondo a la Turk," in which Dave melds the 9/8 rhythms of Istanbul's street musicians with American jazz and blues, creating a unique and indelible composition that has been covered by everyone from Al Jarreau to The Canadian Brass. Here, this beloved tune is freshened by master trombonist/bassist Chris Brubeck's arrangement, which begins with dazzling drummer Dan Brubeck's electric hand drumming and moves through sections that are separated just enough to highlight their different origins. This twist provides a new perspective on music that is so often played, reminding the listener of the global influences that were merged during that historic trip.

Another example of cross-fertilization is the serene and beautiful closer, "Thank You" (or "Dziekuje" in Polish). Dave was moved to write this after visiting Chopin's house, and it does evoke the earlier composer's style and feel; once again, this is translated through the medium of jazz, and given new depth and soul by Chris's expressive trombone. The high energy of the opener carries throughout the album, in which seven of the 11 tracks are Dave's compositions; the marvelous pianist Chuck Lamb contributes two, while both the extraordinary guitarist Mike DeMicco and the prolific all-around composer Chris Brubeck offer one apiece. All blend seamlessly with the others, resulting in an exciting ride. These are magnificent players whose years together have forged a seasoned and well-oiled musical unit, as well a group of close and supportive friends. Their joy in this playing, and each other, is audible.

Apart from its historic value—enhanced by the intriguing factoids in the liner notes—this is an exciting and varied outing, recorded crisply and with great warmth. The "Timeline" it reflects is not just in years, but also in a legacy which—lucky for all of us—continues its powerful forward movement today.

Track Listing: Blue Rondo a La Turk; Far More Blue; Easy as You Go; Since Love Had its Way; Boundward Home; Tartonis; The Golden Horn; 3 Wise Men; North Coast; Prime Directive; Thank You (Dziekuje).

Personnel: Chris Brubeck: electric bass, bass trombone; Dan Brubeck: drums, hand drums, percussion; Mike DeMicco: guitar; Chuck Lamb: piano.

Title: Timeline | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Blue Forest Records

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