Top positive review
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"I hear you're mad about Brubeck..."
on 25 July 2006
The classic Brubeck Quartet live and in spanking form. Joe Morello was ill on the night of the recording he can be heard coughing in bassist Eugene Wright's feature 'King For A Day'. The rest of the world's drummers (me included) just hope that one day they might approach something akin to this level, and we would need to be in peak physical condition to even contemplate such hubris. Morello's mammoth solo on 'Castilian Drums' is a tour de force, maintaining a musicality few drummers could hope to achieve even when taking a single chorus of 'fours'.
The whole band play well, and the excitement the crowd was feeling is tangible. I do have a few criticisms though... Most of the material here is treated just as well or better on studio versions, and some of the tunes here aren't from the band's top drawer (I'd rather have heard 'Blue Shadows In The Street' than 'Bossa Nova U.S.A.', but overall they favour upbeat numbers in both sets). The material from the 'Time Out' sessions stands head and shoulders above most of the rest of the programme.
My least favourite musical element is Brubeck's insistent pounding on one particular note, which he starts doing in the opening number, 'St Louis Blues', and returns to occasionally throughout (it's something he mentions with apparent pride in the copious and interesting liner notes). However despite these reservations, this is a fantastic band playing brilliantly, and so still deserving of a full complement of stars.