The Dave Brubeck Quartet
Columbia...CQ 757...7 1/2 ips 4 Track
TAPE: G+...plays well
We have SOLD our copy of this item but keep the information here so you have something to read.
Will You Still Be Mine?
Little Man With A Candy Cigar
The Night We Called It A Day
Dave Brubeck - piano
Paul Desmond - alto sax
Eugene Wright - bass
Joe Morello - drums
Notes by Matt Dennis
I'm something of an itinerant pianist myself, as well as a composer, and I've always found the Brubeck sound exciting, ever since I first heard Dave perform at The Blackhawk in San Francisco. Now, I thought, it would be fascinating to hear what he would do with my songs, and I was eager to hear test pressings.
Obviously, the Quartet had a ball making this album; and their enthusiasm flows right out at you as it did to me when I first heard it. I found it filled with inspiration, and I quess my faavorite is Dave's imaginative solo on Little Man With A Candy Cigar. It has some beautiful spots. I/m surprised Dave found this song, since it has been more or less on the publisher's shelf collectin dust despite Jo Stafford's graet original release years ago (her first solo disc with the Tommy Dorsey band). The only other version I'd heard to date which compares with Jo's is my wife's, Ginny Maxey. We both like Dave's version tremendously - and he plays the "verse" yet!
Violets For Your Furs offers another surprise in that Dave picks up a double-time tempo directly after his opening ad lib solo, when he and Paul Desmond give the song a completely new feel. This is the first I've ever heard the tune done as a rhythm song, and as it is in finetaste and an easy, medium tempo, I like it. Although it has always been considered a ballad since the initial Sinatra recording, I find this a warm contrast, and it gives the song potential for future interpretation.
Let's Get Away From It All: A lot of vinyl (and shellac) has gone under the bridge since the first recording by the late, and great,Thomas "Fats" Waller, who did the song as a ballad with organ and vocal. This was my firsts song to click with the old Dorsey band, when I was working as a songwriter for his publishing firms. There have been many great renditions since then, but none captures the song any more than Brubeck. There's humor in this track as Desmond and Brubeck enjoy kicking around ideas as a kind of mutual challenge (Dave does a few bars of "High Noon" in one spot). In the course of the album, they do this kind of thing often. It's a fun track.
Angel Eyes: Ella Fitzgerald was one of the frist to help me get this song of the ground. She has recorded it four different times, and has been quoted as saying that htis is her favorite song. A pretty fair compliment to its composer. Other fine recordings such by such artists at the late Nat "King" Cole, Herb Jeffries, the Modern Jazz Qurtet, and an inportant one by The Four Freshmen, have made this song my most recorded one, with around 70 recorded performances to date. You'll find, as I did, that Brubeck's interpretation offers an entirely fresh approach, as the original mood of the song is recaptured in this bluesly, rhythmic arrangement. The solos by Paul and Dave are just too much. And thank goodness album producer Teo Macero had nerve enough and respect enough (whichever motive might be involved) to record the song for as long as the feeling existed, rather than the usual worry about the "clock" and the currently accepted 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minute take for the sake of "commercialism." Thanks, Dave, it's great. (By the way, the original title of this was "So Have Another Beer on Me." I like lyricist Earl Brent's final title better, don't you?)
The right tempo on the right tune get Will You Still Be Mine? off to a flying start. Andthere are many interesting chouruses by Paul and Dave, the likes of which you've never heard. Loaded with ideas, Paul sneaks in a few bars of "I'm Flying High" in one part, and, as always, there's the great rhythm background. Dave has a remarkable right-hand drive, and, at times, his harmonic understanding makes you think he's about to change keys. A fabulous thinker. Connie Haines would have enjoyed this session - her recording with the Dorsey band was the first. This has become one of my most performed songs, and Dave's version will insusre its being around a long time, I'm sure. An exciting set of performances.
Everything Happens to Me, like Violets, had a hard time getting started, because it was termed "too musical," or "ahead of its time." Again, however, it was Sinatra's first recording of the song which drew attention to it, and it since has become established in both pop and jazz books as a standard I'm grateful to say. Brubeck's rendition is welcome from the very frist measure, when he plays out of tempo with sort of a concert feel, then into a relaxed tempo for Paul's freestyle solos. There are some typical Brubeck rhythm accents here in his solos, and I truly like it when Dave plays full piano (a rarity these days) and loses himself in the song on the fifth chorus. His thoughts here are a delight, and there is some fine counterpoint. He fooled me in one spot: sounded as if he were going into a waltz. Pretty sneaky. The full sound until the ending of the song, out of tempo again, makes this a most marvelous rendition. There is evidence here, as on Little Man, of the thorough schooling Dave had. Darius Milhaud served him well.
Brubeck introduces several different lines of thought in his treatment of The Night We Called It a Day. I enjoyed the variety of moods, from the sensitive, easy, four beat opening which provides background for Dave and Paul's imaginative solos, to a blues feeling, with spots reminiscent of Fats and Hines. In the latter part of the arrangement is some of the most musical piano I've ever heard, with lovely chord inversions and most delicate ideas. The use of both hands on the piano is a rare thing to hear these days, so enjoy this treat. It's a fitting mood to end the album with, as the soft way Dave winds up the song leaves you wanting more. Originally written for a series in the Hearst newspapers, this song was one of several picked by bandleaders such as Dorsey, Goodman, Miller, Lombardo (yes!) to become "Tomorrow's Hits." Needless to say, nothing happened to the song for some while, until it was picked up by various jazz artists after they had heard Sinatra's first solo disc - made with the late Axel Stordahl. Thanks to Dave for further establishing the song here.
I could go on forever with cheers for this new Brubeck album. I enjoy it, my songs or no, for the pure musical genius it displays. I'm sure Brubeck fans will find this a valuable addition to their collection of albums by this fine group. There are many ideas which will undoubtedly be copied by musicians who respect Brubeck for what he is, a most original source. (I hope Dave continues to compose his fine music, as he did for the television series "Mr. Broadway." I thought it particularly brilliant writing. The medium needs him.)
In a Time magazine cover article some time ago, Dave was quoted as saying, "When I get inspired, I'm the happiest guy in the world." May I use your words, Dave, and say that I am inspired and the happiest guy in the world that you picked Matt Dennis compositions to embellish and beautify in your highly individual and wonderful style. I'm truly flattered and hope the album has great success (I know I'll buy a few).
The rapport between Paul Desmond and Dave never ceases to amaze me - they think as one. This could only come about from years of playing together, and it shows their great respect for one another. Paul plays so effortlessly, his instrument at times becomes a human voice. Very subtle. I respect also the two fine musicians providing the impeccable rhythm: Joe Morello (drums) and Eugene Wright (bass). They seem to know Dave's every mood and play at just the right level of sound.
By a strange coincidence, Dave, I just happen to have a copy of a new song in my pocket that I'd like you to hear...
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