With his â€œClassic Quartet,â€ 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 â€œJeepers Creepersâ€ starts off the first disk with alto sax player Desmond noodling away as only he can. â€œThe Dukeâ€ has a great strut to it and the Disney classic, â€œSomeday My Prince Will Come,â€ starts so sweetly with Brubeck on solo piano that I found myself wishing the band never came in.Â As with too many jazz tunes I feel thereâ€™s great playing here, but often time little purpose. Â (Have I just shown my ignorance for the art form?) â€œOde to a Cowboyâ€ is low and cool, and â€œThank you (Dziekuje)â€ pulls on the heartstrings with just Brubeck playing some sad, slightly missed chords.Â Of course thereâ€™s â€œBlue Rondo a la Turkâ€ with its wild time signature and the famous â€œTake Fiveâ€ with Morelloâ€™s classic drum break.
The second disk features Brubeck playing behind the great voice of Carmen McRae on opener â€œMy One Bad Habit,â€ and Louis Armstrong on â€œSummer Song,â€ a sweet if not somewhat meandering â€œSomewhereâ€ from West Side Story, a great bopping Morella and band caught live on â€œMr. Broadway,â€ and the previously unreleased â€œThree To Get Ready.â€
With a 12-page booklet of liner notes by Dave Brubeckâ€™s son Darius, Legacy ofÂ a Legend is a fitting collection from a true American original.