Dave Brubeck Celebrates 90th Birthday as Album Tops CMJ Charts
Released in advance of jazz legend Dave Brubeck's 90th birthday on December 6, Dave Brubeck: Legacy of a Legend, the artist's recently released two-disc compilation of tracks from 1954-1970, bulleted 18 positions, from #19 to #1, on the CMJ Jazz Top 40 chart as the album garnered critical acclaim and coast-to-coast airplay.
Dave Brubeck: Legacy of a Legend has reached #13 on the Billboard Top Jazz Album chart and #8 on the Traditional Jazz Album Chart. Brubeck has played on albums charting in every decade since the 1950s.
Dave Brubeck: Legacy of a Legend, a commemorative collection of tracks hand-picked by the artist, featuring extensive annotation and anecdotal liner notes written by his son Darius, was released through Columbia/Legacy, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, to all physical and digital retail outlets on Tuesday, November 16.
Compiled by Brubeck himself, Legacy of a Legend distills the artist's Columbia Records output from 1954 to 1970 into 21 essential tracks and includes signature recordings such as "Take Five" and "Some Day My Prince Will Come." Also included is an unreleased live take, "Three To Get Ready," from the Dave Brubeck Quartet's final concert in 1967.
"....hearing this music assembled in this way offers startling proof of Brubeck's truly iconic genius for the musical depth and range he displays as a composer, arranger, and pianist, both live and in the studio," wrote Thom Jurek for AllMusic, "He revisits the haunting (and now legendary) 'Thank You (Dziekuje)' ...with its gorgeous tribute to Chopin that is still provocative. The harmonic interplay between the pianist and Paul Desmond showcased on 'Camptown Ladies' and 'Something to Sing About' (to mention just two places) is furthered by the subtly insistent but utterly innovative rhythm section of EuGene Wright andJoe Morello...the quirky picks by the pianist provide a solid introduction for new listeners."
It's been a year of accolades for Brubeck, who received Kennedy Center Honors in December 2009, and who, along with his ensemble was named the Jazz Group of the Year in the 2010 Downbeat Reader's Poll.
Brubeck's current "commemorative season" was celebrated in a concert review in the New York Times (November 28, 2010) of his recent three-night run at the Blue Note, noting that "His stylish Columbia Records output has been repackaged for two new boxed sets and a two-CD compilation," while praising the master's musicianship, "...he had softened his pianism, replacing the old hammer-and-anvil attack with something almost airy. Here he often held his fingers splayed flat against the keys, barely touching his sustain pedal. His playing was the picture of judicious clarity, its well-placed chordal accents suggesting a riffing horn section....And in one of the set's finer stretches he stirred up a gentle rustle, as if to renounce percussivism altogether. It was the second movement of 'Dialogues for Jazz Combo and Orchestra,' composed by his brother Howard Brubeck and originally recorded with Leonard Bernstein. Mr. Brubeck stated the melody unaccompanied, fluid and florid, before the ensemble shifted into medium swing for a solo by Mr. Militello. What followed was a contrapuntal piano-bass interlude, then Mr. Brubeck alone again. He smiled to himself as he brought the theme home, a captain firmly steering into port."
Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos