The Brubeck Brothers Quartet: LifeTimes (2012)
Jazz has proven, time and time again, that the bonds of family feed the creative soul. Everybody from the Jones brothers and the Marsalis family to the 3 Cohens have found satisfaction in the connection that comes with blood and blues, DNA and musical dynamism, and kinship of the artistic and literal varieties; The Brubeck Brothers are no exception.
Chris and Dan Brubeck, the offspring of the one and only Dave Brubeck, having been playing and recording with each other since they were kids and it shows. Their famous piano-playing father's musical lifestyle rubbed off on them early and both boys embraced this way of life without looking back. Many decades have passed since they were youngsters rehearsing at their parents' Connecticut home, but the enthusiasm that they likely exhibited as teenagers still comes through in their music.
Lifetimes, the fourth CD from the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, finds this outfit exploring five songs associated with their father and three originals that come from the other half of the bandguitarist Mike DeMicco and pianist Chuck Lamb. Three of Dave Brubeck's best known tunes"The Duke," "Kathy's Waltz" and the Paul Desmond-penned "Take Five"show up in the playlist, but they're given a new lease on life with some arranging tweaks. "The Duke" shifts between half-time and double-time feels and "Take Five," which closes the album, opens on Dan's swampy snare drum before settling in. "Kathy's Waltz" is introduced with a reflective guitar solo and the band starts off in a gentle, pseudo-reggae groove in four before arriving at a waltz feel.
Two other songs from the family patriarchthe South African-inspired "Jazzanians" and the balladic "My One Bad Habit"make the cut, and both numbers give Chris Brubeck a chance to work his magic on bass trombone. His background work enhances the overall sound on "Jazzanians," while his tender, melt-like-butter tone on "My One Bad Habit" is simply dreamy. He lets his bass do the talking, walking and groove-making on the majority of the date as he locks in with his brother's cymbal work, but his horn is a welcome addition when he chooses to include it.
The contributions of the Brubeck Brothers' band mates complement the other selections on the disc. DeMicco's "Prezcence" has energy to spare and swings like mad, while Lamb's "The Girl From Massapequa," with its choro-like demeanor bolstered by an Afro-Cuban groove, proves to be an album highlight. The pianist and guitarist may not share lineage with the Brubeck's, but they come off as musical family throughout this largely straightforward and enjoyable date.
Track Listing: The Duke; Jazzanians; Kathy’s Waltz; Go Around; Prezcence; The Girl from Massapequa; My One Bad Habit; Take Five.
Personnel: Chris Brubeck: electric bass, bass trombone; Dan Brubeck: drums; Mike DeMicco: guitar; Chuck Lamb: piano.
Record Label: Blue Forest
Style: Modern Jazz