Michael Fremer Rated 8/10 Music, 8/10 Sonics in his July 2013 reviews on www.analogplanet.com!
180 Gram Double Virgin Vinyl!
Superb Melodic Improvisation!
One of the All Time Great Live Jazz Performances!
Dave Brubeck, designated a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, is one of the most popular musicians in both the jazz and classical worlds. With a career that spans over six decades, his experiments in odd time signatures, improvised counterpoint, polyrhythm and polytonality remain hallmarks of innovation.
After suffering a near fatal diving accident in 1951, Dave formed the Dave Brubeck Quartet with alto saxophonist Paul Desmond. The legendary Brubeck-Desmond collaboration lasted seventeen years and beyond. The Dave Brubeck quartet’s recordings and concert appearances on college campuses in the ’50s and early ’60s introduced jazz to thousands of young people. The quartet’s audiences were not limited to students, however. The group played in jazz clubs in every major city. They repeatedly won top honors in trade magazines and critic’s and reader’s polls.
At Carnegie Hall was recorded at the famed Carnegie Hall in New York City on February 21, 1963. It was described by critic Richard Palmer as “arguably Dave Brubeck’s greatest concert” and a “truly majestic record that should be in every serious collection”; for Don Mather it is “one of the all time great live jazz performances.” Ironically, original expectations for the concert were low. Not only was drummer Joe Morello recovering from a case of the flu at the time, but New York had been suffering from a newspaper strike, and the group was worried that the attendance would be sparse.
The worries were groundless: the hall was full; the group, whose long history together (the newest member, bassist Wright, had joined four years earlier) had by then made them extraordinarily close-knit, turned in an exciting, sparkling performance. It featured a remarkable level of co-ordination among the members of the group, at the same time as they display a relaxed yet powerful virtuosity. The latter was especially displayed in their numerous extended, yet still melodious, solo improvisations.
“The band moves 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 breathed new fire both melodically and tonally into their won 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… 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, allmusic.com
“The solos by Morello, Desmond and Wright and more importantly the overall quartet flow make this live set a breezy, musical pleasure… [T]he instruments themselves are reasonably well recorded and placed within a suitably reverberant Carnegie Hall environment… Brubeck’s piano is very well-recorded… and free of major boxy colorations… [O]f course the Pallas pressing quality is superb.” – Michael Fremer, analogplanet.com, Music 8/10, Sound 8/10
Recording: February 1963 Carnegie Hall, New York.