Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Dave Brubeck Quartet: The Crossing

Dave Brubeck may well be the Energizer Bunny of the jazz world. At the age of 80 he not only maintains a schedule of touring and recording, but his latest, The Crossing (Telarc CD-83520; 62:51), finds him writing challenging new pieces and arrangements. “Chasin’ Yourself,” for example, is built around a sly and charming canon in which bassist Alec Dankworth chases saxophonist Bobby Militello, and the hip, breezy bossa “Day After Day” could easily accommodate strings or full orchestra. There’s an elegance to much of Brubeck’s work these days, most notably on “Bessie,” named and composed in memory of his mother; “All My Love,” written for Iola, his wife of 59 years; and the stately waltz “Hold Fast to Dreams,” taken from his suite of vocal settings of Langston Hughes poems. Brubeck still knows how to swing with different time signatures, as on his tune in 5/4 written for and named after his drummer Randy Jones, and the Caribbean-inspired “Por Que No?” The only clunker in this set is the opening title track, which is a set of changes without melody propelled by a pseudo rock beat. It’s impressive, however, to hear Militello take this bit of fluff and really cut loose. Talk about making something out of nothing!

Originally Published