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Recorded in February 1963, Live at Carnegie Hall
preserves what was arguably Dave Brubeck's greatest concert. It features altoist Paul Desmond, drummer Joe Morello and Eugene Wright on bass--by common consent the finest-ever incarnation of the Brubeck Quartet--in a succession of performances that are by turns stirring, witty, magical and irresistibly pulsating. The material is a catholic mixture of obvious DB favourites ("Take Five", "Blue Rondo À La Turk", "It's A Raggy Waltz"), timeless standards ("For All We Know", "St Louis Blues", "Pennies From Heaven") and then-new Brubeck compositions such as "Bossa Nova USA"--a wonderful reading that completely eclipses the earlier studio version--and "Castilian Drums". There's also a thrillingly rhapsodic rendition of "Southern Scene", containing one of Desmond's best solos and a gracefully pulverising "Three To Get Ready" that closes the first of these two CDs. Moreover, Desmond's "Eleven Four" and Wright's feature on "King For A Day" testify to the penetration and intelligence of a group that many at the time dismissed as gimmicky, pretentious and shallow. A truly majestic record that should be in every serious collection, Brubeck's Live At Carnegie Hall
sounds as fresh today as when it was made. --Richard Palmer