Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Everybody's jumpin' (The Dave Brubeck Quartet) (LP 44-47)

The Dave Brubeck Quartet  Gone With The Wind (Vinyl - Coronet Records, 1959) ***
The Dave Brubeck Quartet  Time Out (Vinyl + CD - Coronet Records, 1959) *****
The Dave Brubeck Quartet   Brubeck and Rushing (Vinyl - Coronet Records, 1960) **
The Dave Brubeck Quartet  Time Further Out (Vinyl + CD - Coronet Records, 1961) **** 

Genre: Jazz

Places I remember: All four vinyl albums are from my father's collection. Time Out has a Marbecks Records sticker!

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Justifiably, Take Five and Blue Rondo A La Turk were the big hits.

Gear costume: Camptown Races (2 versions) takes off in joyous fashion (Gone With The Wind); Bru's Boogie Woogie; Maori Blues (both from Time Further Out).

Active compensatory factors: These albums have been around almost as long as I have (I was two in 1959) and they've always been a part of my life.

My father was VERY keen on Dave Brubeck! He loved that cool quartet/ piano jazz sound right up to the end of his life (when Diana Krall was his main squeeze). 

Interestingly, he knew how to play the piano and he was pretty good at it - having had lessons in his youth and passing piano exams. But we never, ever, had a piano in the house and I never, ever, heard him play. Weird. I guess he was only taking the lessons to please his mother and then gave up on it when he could. Electronics was much more his bag.

Brubeck was amazingly productive - these four albums cover only three years in Brubeck's lengthy career.

Incredibly, The Riddle was a third album recorded in 1959 but dad didn't have that one.

The story goes that Gone With The Wind was the commercial album that Columbia insisted on before the band recorded the adventurous Time Out. It's cool sounding but not as adventurous, and as a consequence doesn't have the pulling power of the classic Time Out. Dad obviously loved it though - it's been played a lot as the surface scratches can attest (especially on side 1).

True confession time - I wasn't a jazz fan until hitting my twenties but I still knew a great sound when I heard it and Take Five is a great sound and never fails to thrill. I've since played the whole album a lot!

Paul Desmond was a great foil for Brubeck and he dominates the sound on Time Out. There is still wonderful space on these tracks for the quartet to stretch out; that includes drummer Joe Morello and bassman Gene Wright. But it's Desmond's fluid alto sound and Brubeck's experimental piano that are the recognisible features of the band. 

The Jimmy Rushing album is not really to my taste. The jazz backing to a blues shouter (Rushing is not as appealing to me as Big Joe Turner) doesn't move me.

Time Further Out is much better. Desmond's alto sounds slightly raspy compared to the smooth Time Out tracks but that's not a bad thing. There's a new playfulness, especially on side 2's boogie work out (Bru's Boogie Woogie) and Unsquare Dance

Where do they all belong? More Brubeck to come - lots more!

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