Dave Brubeck: Legacy of a Legend
With his “Classic Quartet,” as they were called (Paul Desmond, Eugene Wright and the quintessential jazz drummer Joe Morello), Dave Brubeck set the stage for great jazz melodies and playing. His new album, Legacy of a Legend, features 21 tracks that span his Columbia Records career from 1954-1970.
The light touch of “Jeepers Creepers” starts off the first disk with alto sax player Desmond noodling away as only he can. “The Duke” has a great strut to it and the Disney classic, “Someday My Prince Will Come,” starts so sweetly with Brubeck on solo piano that I found myself wishing the band never came in. As with too many jazz tunes I feel there’s great playing here, but often time little purpose. (Have I just shown my ignorance for the art form?) “Ode to a Cowboy” is low and cool, and “Thank you (Dziekuje)” pulls on the heartstrings with just Brubeck playing some sad, slightly missed chords. Of course there’s “Blue Rondo a la Turk” with its wild time signature and the famous “Take Five” with Morello’s classic drum break.
The second disk features Brubeck playing behind the great voice of Carmen McRae on opener “My One Bad Habit,” and Louis Armstrong on “Summer Song,” a sweet if not somewhat meandering “Somewhere” from West Side Story, a great bopping Morella and band caught live on “Mr. Broadway,” and the previously unreleased “Three To Get Ready.”
With a 12-page booklet of liner notes by Dave Brubeck’s son Darius, Legacy of a Legend is a fitting collection from a true American original.