Dave Brubeck takes another solo stroll with his latest CD, Indian Summer, and mostly leaves behind the bombastic style that has long marked his career in favor of a more reflective viewpoint. Of course, the pianist will likely have passed his 87th birthday by the time this review reaches print and he suffered a relatively serious leg injury shortly before the recording sessions, factors that probably contributed to the thoughtful nature of this music, seemingly a look back not only in the choice of material but in his relaxed stylistic bent.
Somewhat like his previous solo effort, 2004’s Private Brubeck Remembers, this collection of tunes generally consists of older standards, but they relate more to romantic feelings rather than the WWII-tinged songs of the earlier album. Interestingly, of the four originals among the CD’s 16 tracks are three (“Autumn in Our Town,” “So Lonely” and “Summer Song”) credited to the pianist’s wife, Iola, and only one (“Thank You”) composed by Dave. The album has its share of chestnuts, of course, but the best tracks are those works that never seem to grow old, the opening “You’ll Never Know,” the closing title track, “I’m Afraid the Masquerade is Over,” “I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You,” “September Song,” “Georgia on My Mind” and “Sweet Lorraine.”
This may be Brubeck in his declining years, but don’t count him out quite yet.