Dave Brubeck Quartet | 06.03.07

live_brubeckThe setting gave me a sense that I was there to be educated as much as entertained, sort of like watching a performance of your college professors.

 

 

 

 

The Sheldon, St. Louis

The Sheldon was the perfect venue to host legendary piano player and composer Dave Brubeck. The hall was packed to capacity with a very enthusiastic crowd ranging from young to old. Over the past 50 years, Brubeck has performed with some of the most notable names in jazz, including Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, and Dizzy Gillespie. He is probably most famous for writing the tune "Take Five."

The evening's atmosphere seemed to have the presence of nostalgia. The setting gave me a sense that I was there to be educated as much as entertained, sort of like watching a performance of your college professors. The hall sounded warm and resonant and felt welcoming and intimate. Brubeck has a very pronounced swing feel to his phrasing that lends the music the distinction of authenticity.

Bobby Militello stole the show with his saxophone and flute playing. He was actually laying down some blistering bop lines, truly a master improviser. He had delicate treatment of the melodies and a lot of dynamics in his solos. He also played some very nice counterpoints behind the melody and implied some very interesting reharmonizations.

They played one groove built around a march that featured the drummer, Randy Jones. They let him build a solo around the march rhythm, but it seemed overbearing and still the way he handled it. The beat was not funky or a back beat march, like New Orleans style; it was much more military derived. Even if that was the intent, it could have been smoother. The bassist, Michael Moore, was using a ¾-scale upright, but was still able to get a full, rich tone out of it. When they were trading fours, his bass solos would always follow the melody and was nicely outlining the changes.

The venerable Brubeck would shakily work his way to the microphone in between tunes and utter a few pleasantries with an economy of words. Once back at his seat behind that beautiful black grand piano, the music would just smoothly flow out of his hands. Music is indeed an unending fountain of youth. | Derek Lauer

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