Dave Brubeck has left his imprint in the world of jazz with his many contributions as one of the all time great jazz pianists. His album Time Out is one of the best selling jazz albums of all time, which includes the popular tune Take Five. Brubeck was the second jazz musician to be featured on Time magazine after Louis Armstrong. In 2008, he was inducted into the California Hall of Fame and received the Kennedy Center Honors Award in 2009. He was responsible for creating one of the first U.S. Army racially integrated bands. Now, we have a chance to experience Dave Brubeck: Legacy Of A Legend that features 21 songs handpicked by Brubeck, spanning his Columbia Records tenure (1954-1970) that includes the previously unreleased live take of Three To Get Ready recorded at Classical Quartet’s final concert, December 26, 1967.
The album opens with Jeepers Creepers as the piano chords are heard right away. Then you have a bright, flowing saxophone sound. The sound is effortless as the piano is heard lightly in the background. You can hear a little vibrato and even trills as the saxophone improvises with crystal clear clarity . The piano solo has terrific character and a playful vibe. A hint of blues flavor is heard in the piano solo as well. Passages involving chords are struck evenly with a melody on top on piano. The tune slows down towards the end.
Ode To A Cowboy is the fifth track that has an interesting feel and character. You are reminded of a cowboy by the sound of the music. A constant ostinato is heard in the bass that gives a clever feel. The rhythm changes as you continue listening. Swinging eighth notes are performed in the saxophone and piano solos. Notes on the upbeat can be heard in the piano solo that sound with effective force. Chromatic structures are in the piano solo giving the piece a bit of a daring essence. A triple meter rhythm appears out of the original meter.
A piece that many are familiar with but do not know the title is Blue Rondo a la Turk, the ninth track. The momentum is phenomenal that is put into hyper drive by the piano that plays the opening theme with a fast pace. A little later you hear a repeated note in the piano that is prominent among the brisk musical motion going on. The saxophone then joins in the high octane activity. Strong down beats are also heard on the piano before the saxophone solo. During the saxophone solo, the piano plays the opening theme by itself in certain sections. The saxophone solo features high range tones. In the piano solo, chord structures form part of the improvisation. The drummer does an outstanding job of keeping the rhythm alive in this tune.
My One Bad Habit features a vocalist which is the first track of disc 2. The voice begins this tune along with the piano. In this tune, the voice ends the phrases well and is clear with different articulations. The piano accompanies the vocalist incredibly well as it helps sustain the phrases. You can imagine this tune sung in the old days. The exhilarating energy and force increases as the tune continues.
Low bass notes can be heard in the piano at the beginning of the fifth track of disc 2, Something To Sing About. The saxophone actually begins this tune followed by a brief piano solo. A swift tempo propels this tune in astounding fashion. The saxophonist has complete control of his runs in the solo which are undoubtedly difficult. Wonderful melodic invention can be heard on the piano. The piano and saxophone seem to have a lot going on at the same time in certain sections and feed off one another.
A piano introduction begins the ninth track on disc 2, Out Of Nowhere. The drummer is keeping the tempo moving with intuitive drum beats. On piano, you can heard a nice amount of the use of bass notes. The saxophone solo is effortless with endless lines and exciting embellishments. Dazzling descending runs are heard on the saxophone. Sequences in the piano solo add variety to the incredible solo that come in the form of chords and melodic lines. The fantastic energy of the piano runs in full throttle.
This album features some of the best and well known music that Dave Brubeck composed. You can hear Dave Brubeck’s amazing musical language as he plays music runs full of clarity and rhythmic diversity. His band is one of the most influential in the history of jazz music. Dave Brubeck: Legacy Of A Legend gives us precious gems of music that can still be enjoyed by any jazz listener. The songs on this album are still well alive in our ears as we listen. Happy 90th Birthday Dave Brubeck and thank you for this music treasure.