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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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Dave Brubeck - piano and various personnel
1955 -1960

Columbia/Legacy COL 516422 2


1. Tonight
2. Some Day My Prince Will Come
3. Strange Meadow Lark
4. The Duke ( Live)
5. Pennies From Heaven
6. Basin Street Blues
7. Gone With The Wnd
8. In Your Own Sweet Way ( Live )
9. I Feel Pretty
10. Audrey
11. Take Five

This is yet another disc in this series of reissues where no real personnel details are included. However, in this case, it is almost enough to say that this is the Dave Brubeck Quartet featuring Paul Desmond as these are the two players who are the major soloists and composers of the numbers which do not fall into the standard category.

Having made this initial point, I must say that this is a very interesting disc, containing as it does such a varied selection of performances. Some of the old favourites such as "Take Five" and "The Duke" are here,along with a good few show tunes and Jazz standbys.

With the passage of time it is becoming clearer that Brubeck's contributions to the music are somewhat more profound than many critics would have led us to believe. Benny Green had an almost pathological dislike of this group and the MJQ. It is now generally accepted that these two bands were amongst the most significant contributors to a style that seemed to bridge the divide between Jazz and Chamber Music. Perhaps it was more difficult in the past to appreciate that just because the performances were often of a more gentle, reflective nature they were nevertheless capable of the same levels of spontaneity.

Paul Desmond was a true original with his understated tone. He always managed to produce a thoughtful and interesting reading on a piece, no matter how hackneyed the tune and played with a subtle and yet powerful sense of swing. Brubeck could have rested his reputation on two compositions alone, "The Duke" and "In Your Own Sweet Way". "Strange Meadow Lark " is another of his superlative pieces. He was perhaps best known for his experiments in unusual time signatures. What is refreshing here is that other than Desmond's "Take Five" the only other odd meters are jazz waltzes.

This disc represents a good introduction to the music of this classic band.

Dick Stafford

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