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Jazz - Released October 7, 2016 | TCB The Montreux Jazz Label

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Classical - Released June 24, 2007 | Sony Classical

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released December 14, 1959 | Columbia - Legacy

Dave Brubeck's defining masterpiece, Time Out is one of the most rhythmically innovative albums in jazz history, the first to consciously explore time signatures outside of the standard 4/4 beat or 3/4 waltz time. It was a risky move -- Brubeck's record company wasn't keen on releasing such an arty project, and many critics initially roasted him for tampering with jazz's rhythmic foundation. But for once, public taste was more advanced than that of the critics. Buoyed by a hit single in altoist Paul Desmond's ubiquitous "Take Five," Time Out became an unexpectedly huge success, and still ranks as one of the most popular jazz albums ever. That's a testament to Brubeck and Desmond's abilities as composers, because Time Out is full of challenges both subtle and overt -- it's just that they're not jarring. Brubeck's classic "Blue Rondo à la Turk" blends jazz with classical form and Turkish folk rhythms, while "Take Five," despite its overexposure, really is a masterpiece; listen to how well Desmond's solo phrasing fits the 5/4 meter, and how much Joe Morello's drum solo bends time without getting lost. The other selections are richly melodic as well, and even when the meters are even, the group sets up shifting polyrhythmic counterpoints that nod to African and Eastern musics. Some have come to disdain Time Out as its become increasingly synonymous with upscale coffeehouse ambience, but as someone once said of Shakespeare, it's really very good in spite of the people who like it. It doesn't just sound sophisticated -- it really is sophisticated music, which lends itself to cerebral appreciation, yet never stops swinging. Countless other musicians built on its pioneering experiments, yet it's amazingly accessible for all its advanced thinking, a rare feat in any art form. This belongs in even the most rudimentary jazz collection. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1961 | BnF Collection

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Contemporary Jazz - Released September 19, 2019 | RevOla

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Jazz - Released December 4, 2020 | Brubeck Editions

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Jazz - Released February 22, 1963 | Columbia - Legacy

For all those who have a big axe to grind with Brubeck, for all those who claim the band was only successful because they were predominantly white, or played pop-jazz, or catered to the exotica craze, or any of that, you are invited to have all of your preconceptions, tepid arguments, and false impressions hopelessly torn to shreds by one of the great live jazz albums of the 1960s. The Dave Brubeck Quartet at Carnegie Hall is a date that showcases the finest elements of the storied Brubeck Quartet, which featured, alongside Brubeck's piano, alto innovator Paul Desmond, bassist Eugene Wright, and Joe Morello on drums. On this February night in 1963 -- either the 21 or 22nd depending on which side of the cover you believe -- W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" was given a knotty rhythmic workout it had never seen on Basin or Bourbon Street. Time signatures moved and shifted all over the tune for 12 minutes as Brubeck and Desmond exchanged cross-contrapuntal solos and melodic inventions back and forth. Movement, and plenty of it, was the identity this old nugget took on, with Brubeck taking Wright's cue and moving the blues into unheard-of harmonic spaces and intervals. At one point, with 16/4 time forcing itself onto the front line, Desmond makes his move quickly with one scalular interval to the top of the meter and stops. It's enough, he seems to be saying, that it gets brought back to a humane tempo before clamoring from a samba back into the blues before winding it out. And that's just for openers! The quartet move through all their hits and their new instincts gained from traveling abroad for the better part of six years. With cuts like "Bossa Nova U.S.A" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk," the quartet breathes new fire both melodically and tonally into its material, while other standards such as "Pennies from Heaven" were literally harmonically reinvented by the intense counterpoint, double and even triple, that went on between Desmond and Brubeck. And that's what this set is a reflection of: the Brubeck band would have loved to be recorded live every night they played. They hated the studio because there was nothing to compete against and no energy but their own to glean from. Check out "Eleven Four" and see where the audience in stuffy old Carnegie Hall is transformed into a hooting mob as Desmond solos his head off. When Brubeck pulls Ravel out of his back pocket and Wright accommodates him, setting a samba tempo for him to play against, the crowd may not know what they are hearing, but they flip just the same; they know something's happening and they're right there to experience his past harmonic indulgence mixed with the contrapuntal bop syntax from Desmond. It's no surprise that "Take Five" would take the set out, but given what has been played over two LPs, it's almost a comfort. There are fewer surprises here, it's true, but then, the tune's a groover anyway, and they grease it to the point of making it funky thanks to Wright's slapping at his bass in the middle section. This LP is perhaps the one essential Brubeck live album. While Take Five is rightfully a classic in that it changed everything, At Carnegie Hall reveals the band at the epitome of its musical -- harmonic, rhythmic, melodic, improvisational -- strength with near telepathic communication. It swings like a mother and offers an entirely new dimension to the definition of "melodic improvisation." © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1961 | Legacy - Columbia

Unlike most sequels, Time Further Out is a worthy successor to Time Out. Among the numbers introduced on this impressive set are "It's a Raggy Waltz" and "Unsquare Dance" (the latter an ancestor of Don Ellis' "Pussy Wiggle Stomp"). The selections, which range in time signatures from 5/4 to 9/8, are handled with apparent ease (or at least not too much difficulty) by pianist Brubeck, altoist Paul Desmond, bassist Eugene Wright, and drummer Joe Morello on this near-classic. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 10, 2013 | Timeless Jazz

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1961 | Legacy - Columbia

Unlike most sequels, Time Further Out is a worthy successor to Time Out. Among the numbers introduced on this impressive set are "It's a Raggy Waltz" and "Unsquare Dance" (the latter an ancestor of Don Ellis' "Pussy Wiggle Stomp"). The selections, which range in time signatures from 5/4 to 9/8, are handled with apparent ease (or at least not too much difficulty) by pianist Brubeck, altoist Paul Desmond, bassist Eugene Wright, and drummer Joe Morello on this near-classic. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 28, 1964 | Columbia

Thirteen years into their tenure, the Dave Brubeck Quartet was still able to mine the creative vein for new means of expression. Despite the hits and popularity on college campuses, or perhaps because of it, Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Eugene Wright, and Joe Morello composed a restless band with a distinctive sound. These eight tracks, all based on a tour of Japan the year before, were, in a sense, Brubeck fulfilling a dictum from his teacher, the French composer Darius Milhaud, who exhorted him to "travel the world and keep your ears open." The sketches Brubeck and Desmond created all invoke the East, particularly the folk melodies of Japan directly, while still managing to use the Debussian impressionistic approach to jazz that kept them riding the charts and creating a body of music that, while playing into the exotica craze of the moment, was still jazz composed and played with integrity. The gorgeous modal blues that uses Eastern scale whole tones with Western harmonic notions -- chromatically -- that comprise the melody and solo frameworks for Desmond in "Fujiyama" are a beautiful contrast to the relatively straight-ahead ballad style featured on "Zen Is When," with its 4/4 time sling rhythm and simple melody -- extrapolated by Brubeck in purely Japanese whole tone scale on the harmony. Also, the shimmer and whisper of "The City Is Crying," where Desmond's solo is one of the most beautiful of his career, using arpeggios as half tones to reach down into the middle of his horn's register and play harmonically a counterpoint that is as painterly as it is poignant. On "Osaka Blues," Brubeck once again reaches for an oriental scale to play a modal blues à la Miles Davis with Wynton Kelly; Desmond responds by playing straight post-bop Bluesology with even a squeak or two in his solo. In all, Jazz Impressions of Japan is one of the great forgotten Brubeck records. Its sweetness is tempered with musical adventure and the improvisational experience only a band that had been together 13 years could provide. It's truly wonderful. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released June 1, 1958 | Legacy Recordings

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Jazz - Released October 31, 1982 | Concord Jazz

In 1982 pianist Dave Brubeck welcomed clarinetist Bill Smith (who he had played with back in his octet days in the late '40s) as a permanent member of his Quartet along with drummer Randy Jones and Chris Brubeck on electric bass and occasional bass trombone. This album features the new Quartet at the Concord Jazz Festival playing what would become their typical mixture of songs: three Brubeck compositions ("Benjamin," "Koto Song" and "Softly, William, Softly"), a standard ("Black and Blue") and yet another remake of "Take Five." These are fine performances. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1957 | Legacy - Columbia

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Inspired by a trip with his family to Disneyland, Dave Brubeck recorded eight songs taken from four Disney movies (Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, Snow White, and Cinderella), including such melodies as "Give a Little Whistle," "Heigh Ho," "When You Wish Upon a Star," and "Someday My Prince Will Come." The funny part is that while all of these songs were already in the Brubeck Quartet's repertoire, the results are still pleasing. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released February 22, 1963 | Columbia - Legacy

For all those who have a big axe to grind with Brubeck, for all those who claim the band was only successful because they were predominantly white, or played pop-jazz, or catered to the exotica craze, or any of that, you are invited to have all of your preconceptions, tepid arguments, and false impressions hopelessly torn to shreds by one of the great live jazz albums of the 1960s. The Dave Brubeck Quartet at Carnegie Hall is a date that showcases the finest elements of the storied Brubeck Quartet, which featured, alongside Brubeck's piano, alto innovator Paul Desmond, bassist Eugene Wright, and Joe Morello on drums. On this February night in 1963 -- either the 21 or 22nd depending on which side of the cover you believe -- W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" was given a knotty rhythmic workout it had never seen on Basin or Bourbon Street. Time signatures moved and shifted all over the tune for 12 minutes as Brubeck and Desmond exchanged cross-contrapuntal solos and melodic inventions back and forth. Movement, and plenty of it, was the identity this old nugget took on, with Brubeck taking Wright's cue and moving the blues into unheard-of harmonic spaces and intervals. At one point, with 16/4 time forcing itself onto the front line, Desmond makes his move quickly with one scalular interval to the top of the meter and stops. It's enough, he seems to be saying, that it gets brought back to a humane tempo before clamoring from a samba back into the blues before winding it out. And that's just for openers! The quartet move through all their hits and their new instincts gained from traveling abroad for the better part of six years. With cuts like "Bossa Nova U.S.A" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk," the quartet breathes new fire both melodically and tonally into its material, while other standards such as "Pennies from Heaven" were literally harmonically reinvented by the intense counterpoint, double and even triple, that went on between Desmond and Brubeck. And that's what this set is a reflection of: the Brubeck band would have loved to be recorded live every night they played. They hated the studio because there was nothing to compete against and no energy but their own to glean from. Check out "Eleven Four" and see where the audience in stuffy old Carnegie Hall is transformed into a hooting mob as Desmond solos his head off. When Brubeck pulls Ravel out of his back pocket and Wright accommodates him, setting a samba tempo for him to play against, the crowd may not know what they are hearing, but they flip just the same; they know something's happening and they're right there to experience his past harmonic indulgence mixed with the contrapuntal bop syntax from Desmond. It's no surprise that "Take Five" would take the set out, but given what has been played over two LPs, it's almost a comfort. There are fewer surprises here, it's true, but then, the tune's a groover anyway, and they grease it to the point of making it funky thanks to Wright's slapping at his bass in the middle section. This LP is perhaps the one essential Brubeck live album. While Take Five is rightfully a classic in that it changed everything, At Carnegie Hall reveals the band at the epitome of its musical -- harmonic, rhythmic, melodic, improvisational -- strength with near telepathic communication. It swings like a mother and offers an entirely new dimension to the definition of "melodic improvisation." © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Contemporary Jazz - Released September 19, 2019 | RevOla

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Jazz - Released September 23, 2020 | Brubeck Editions

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Contemporary Jazz - Released October 31, 2019 | RevOla

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Jazz - Released March 1, 1954 | Columbia Jazz Masterpieces

Dave Brubeck (piano) began his Columbia Records association on a second album of material that his quartet had cut during its spring of 1954 tour of North American college campuses, Paul and Dave's Jazz Interwoven (1954) being the first. Joining Brubeck are Paul Desmond (alto sax), Bob Bates (bass), and Joe Dodge (drums), whose support of Brubeck is uniformly flawless, ultimately producing what many consider as the most memorable music in the artist's cannon. "Balcony Rock" commences the platter from sides documented at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The heavily improvised tune is formed on an eight-bar blues as Desmond steers the combo via his inspired and lyrical leads. The bouncy "Out of Nowhere," comes via a show at the University of Cincinnati and centers on Brubeck's uncanny timing as his passages quickly vacillate between edgy and atonal to decidedly more fluid and melodic. Again, Desmond is nothing short of exemplary as his sax weaves around the rhythm section. "Le Souk" hails from Oberlin College in Ohio and provides Desmond another strong vehicle. His lines tie Bates' prominent propulsions together with Dodge's solid backbeat and Brubeck's similarly aggressive bashing. This takes place behind Brubeck's emphatic and frenetic pounding and garners considerable appreciation by those in attendance. The sturdy bop supporting Duke Ellington's "Take the 'A' Train" is given further fuel thanks to the combination of Desmond's straightforward and unfettered blows and Dodge's punchy interjections. "The Song Is You" is a minor masterpiece as Desmond's efforts resonate his exceptional fluidity. In fact, practically the whole track is marked by his cool, limber phrasing, with Brubeck taking the helm only briefly at the end. The refined and stately reading of "Don't Worry 'Bout Me" reaches far beyond the blues intimated by the sense of forlorn in Brubeck's contributions, thanks to the simple if not austere arrangement. The converse can be said regarding the striking energy of "I Want to Be Happy" as the band leans in hard with a purpose and finesse that can be eloquently summed up in the final phrase as all four members seemingly draw the song to a dynamic and dramatic conclusion. Indeed the genre gets schooled on Jazz Goes to College, a (dare say) perfect representation of the Dave Brubeck Quartet's pre-Time Out (1959) antics in the preferable concert performance setting. © Lindsay Planer /TiVo