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Dave Brubeck Quartet: Park Avenue South

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Dave Brubeck, in his 80s, maintains the energy, zeal and good humor that have characterized his work for more than 50 years. He is on the road in a schedule that would tire a person of any age, but on this CD it is apparent that time-3/4, 4/4 and 5/4-is on his side. Park Avenue South comes from two nights of recording before audiences at a Starbucks coffee house in Manhattan. We don’t know whether Brubeck used his frequent tactic of stimulating his colleagues by launching into standards they don’t expect, but freshness and spontaneity of surprise nonetheless saturate “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” “Love Is Just Around the Corner,” “On a Slow Boat to China” and “Show Me the Way to Go Home.”

Bobby Militello, whom subtlety rarely visits, is engagingly boisterous in his alto saxophone solos, but the restraint of his flute work is notable as he blends with Michael Moore’s arco bass on “Elegy,” a new Brubeck piece of lyrical sadness. Moore has splendid solos on “Elegy,” “Love for Sale” and “Don’t Forget Me,” a recent Brubeck composition in three-quarter time. In their power and elegance as a rhythm team, Moore and drummer Randy Jones provide stability during Brubeck’s spikiest solo adventures.

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