There can be few more daunting destinies in jazz than to be an alto player in the Dave Brubeck Quartet and not be Paul Desmond. It is not that Bobby Militello lacks chops. Quite the contrary. It is just that he is everything Paul Desmond was not-shrill and frenetic and boisterous. On London Flat, London Sharp (Telarc), he reinforces Brubeck’s own cerebral percussiveness and jarring hard turns (rather than counteracting them with cosmic suave, as Desmond did). But if Militello often makes London Flat, London Sharp fatiguing, it is impossible not to be moved by a pianist/composer who plays his ass off at 85, and who says that he “still writes all day, every day,” even when touring.
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