Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie had gone before him as Eisenhower's jazz ambassadors for America, when pianist Dave Brubeckalong with his sizzling quartet comprising alto saxophonist, Paul Desmond, drummer Joe Morello and bassist Eugene Whiteset out on their 1958 State Department-sponsored tour. The group gave around 80 official performances across 14 countries, taking in Europe (west and east of the Iron Curtain) and the Middle East.
Timeline is the Brubeck Brothers's infectious 60th anniversary celebration of their father's historic trip. The exotic sound of the doumbek, played by drummer Dan Brubeck, opens a feisty re-interpretation of "Blue Rondo a la Turk," the tune written by Brubeck Snr in response to the street music he heard in Istanbul during the tour. The 9/8 tune jump-starts and stops, set up by energetic solos from bassist Chris Brubeck and nimble pianist Chuck Lamb.
The versatile "Far More Blue" starts at an easy 4/4 but then gets tense and driven to 5/4 by Dan. "Since Love Had Its Way," another Brubeck standard, gets deftly executed with the solos (guitarist Mike DeMicco shines brightly) layering nicely within and alongside each other, while the rhythm section powers the whole swinging affair. Like the tides, Lamb's "Boundward Home" rolls and recedes, its comforting melodic motif capturing the longing and satisfaction of the homeward traveler.
"Tritonis," one of Brubeck Snr's latter-day tunes, has an ominous, mysterious ambiance, a perfect confection for his heirs. Some half-time funk fuels DeMicco and Lamb on "The Golden Horn." Lamb's driving "Prime Directive" may owe more to Chick Corea than Dave Brubeck's legacy, but the band has a blast negotiating its turns, so much so that Chris adds a dirty trombone blare. Like father, like sons...never afraid to take chances.
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).
Chris Brubeck: electric bass, bass trombone; Dan Brubeck: drums, hand drums,
percussion; Mike DeMicco: guitar; Chuck Lamb: piano.
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