Dave Brubeck: Live In '64 & '66 DVD 2007 Jazz Icons Series Stereo

This DVD has the best footage of the classic Brubeck quartet seen. Brubeck , Desmond, Morello and Wright were on top of the jazz world (and high up on the pop charts) when these Belgian and German shows were taped. Their chemistry amazes on Take Five; Koto Song; Forty Days; Take the 'A' Train; St. Louis Blues; Three to Get Ready , and more.Dave Brubeck's indispensable entry in the Reelin' in the Years' Jazz Icons series contains a pair of made-for-European television shows from the mi-'60s. 

 Modern viewers are treated to an hour-plus of previously unavailable footage of the legendary Dave Brubeck Quartet featuring Brubeck (piano), Paul Desmond (alto sax), Eugene Wright (bass), and Joe Morello (drums). To give an idea of their popularity in 1966, Downbeat magazine voted the Dave Brubeck Quartet the Number One Combo for the ninth consecutive year. They also came in on top of the Playboy jazz poll and the participants were likewise listed at the head of the class according to their respective instrument, with Desmond outpacing the competition by more than 16,000 votes. 

This "classic" lineup lasted from 1958 - 1967, during which time they played over 100 gigs and recorded at least three LPs every year. The Belgian Jazz Pour Tous commences the DVD as they hosted Brubeck and crew on October 10, 1964. According to the liner essay from Darius Brubeck -- who is an ethnomusicologist as well as Dave's son -- the shows are indicative of the era they were presented in. Case in point is the quartet's usual opener -- a swinging interpretation of W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues." Desmond's refined tone represents the epitome of cool.  

He and Brubeck trade off as if their countermelodies were second nature. Particularly fascinating are the time changes that the pianist takes charge of without the slightest hesitation from any of the contributors. The two renditions of Brubeck's lovely "Koto Song" are unique. The first is intimate with the mood and emotional integrity that made the Jazz Impressions of Japan (1964) so memorable and the copious close-up shots of Desmond offer a rare insight into his style. "Three to Get Ready" evokes a brisk and innocently mischievous children's call-and-response game. Each player exudes an undeniably youthful vibrancy that is tempered by the stunning and exploratory "In Your Own Sweet Way." Here, the number becomes so much more than just a ballad. Desmond expands his thoughtful progression, as his leads are beaming with rich and robust inflections. The Dave Brubeck Quartet's signature "Take Five" closes both sets as the combo use the quicker concert tempo -- when compared to the studio recording -- to integrate a variety of textures missing from the familiar Time Out (1959) LP. Desmond's ultra suave sound predicts the direction Brubeck would investigate several years later as the "West Coast Cool" maverick Gerry Mulligan (sax) took the chair currently occupied by Desmond. Two years later -- mere months before the landmark aggregate would split -- the Quartet are in Berlin, Germany. Again, they commence with their regular fare, a rousing ride on the standard "Take the 'A' Train." "Forty Days" -- from the Time In (1965) album -- allows for a contrast as they drive into some interesting and reflective spaces. "In a Dancing Mood" lightens things up as the rhythm section gets a chance to interact with Brubeck as Desmond takes a backseat.

The concluding duo reiterate the variations inherent in "Koto Song" -- as it is comparatively blues-centric with less emphasis on the Eastern aspects of the former reading. Although the second version of "Take Five" lacks the energy, not to mention Morello's drum solo when compared to the earlier version, it does pack a wallop and is an all-around excellent way to conclude what is arguably the finest audio/visual document of the Dave Brubeck Quartet to exist on the market. ~ Lindsay Planer, Rovi


Dave Brubeck
Jazz Icons: Dave Brubeck
Jazz, Music Video & Concerts
Jazz, Musicvideo - Music Video (Concert / Performance)
4 September 2007
Dave Brubeck, Joe Morello, Eugene Wright, Paul Desmond
Not Rated


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