on 8 August 2012
Dave Brubeck is a landmark in jazz. I came to feel jazz and open my mind plenty to it after listening to Dave Brubeck Quartet. The best formation of the quartet included Brubeck on piano, genius Paul Desmond on saxo, Gene Wright on bass and thunderous Joe Morello on drums. This album is a remarkable compilation of this Quartet performances in Carnegie Hall and Europe. It is a quite good recording and until recently the European tapes of Copenhagen have not been issued in CD format. Some of the best moments in Carnegie Hall are catched here, including the seminal tracks "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk". You may go to this album to have a great live summary of the band playing their best tunes. If you want more complete approach you shall go for the Carnegie Hall performance, which is without equal and the shows in Mexico (Buried Treasures and Bravo Brubeck). However this album is a good compilation and the Amsterdam concert is not published in CD by now, so this is also for completists. Brubeck was trained in classical music and produced a jazz which is sophisticated without losing its purity and freshness. Paul Desmond on alto saxo is a delight, I guess no one ever played that instrument that good and so cool.
On the whole I am not keen on compilation CDs, but this is very much and exception. I DO like "live" recordings and here we have excerpts from three GREAT concerts from 1958 and 1963 with the "classic" quartet: Brubeck, Desmond, Morello and Wright all playing at their very best.
We have three tracks (1958) from the album "Dave Brubeck Quartet in Europe" (Copenhagen concert), two tracks from "Brubeck In Amsterdam" (1963) and four from the Carnegie Hall concert (1963) everyone a classic recording.
Every track is a pearl, but there are three or four that stand out for me: the opener "Pennies From Heaven" (9.49), "For All We Know" (9.25), Blue Rondo" (11.59) and "Take Five" (6.15) coincidentally all from Carnegie Hall. Don't think that the rest of the album is dross...it ain't; it's great!
Nine great performances brought together! Worth buying.