Lucid Culture


Dave Brubeck’s Legacy of a Legend to Coincide with Clint Eastwood-Produced Biopic

Most of you who follow this space don’t need any introduction to Dave Brubeck. The big news was that the perennially clever jazz composer turned 90 this past December 6, still touring and composing. Which probably explains why he’s made it this far. In anticipation of the upcoming documentary Dave Brubeck: Legacy of a Legend (Clint Eastwood is executive producer), there’s a brand new 21-track double cd retrospective of the same name featuring cuts from 1954 through 1970 handpicked by Brubeck himself. As with any anthology of this sort, there are pros and cons. Conventional wisdom is that it makes the most sense to own the individual albums these tracks appear on, which some of us probably do. For those of us who don’t, and who want good quality recordings, good luck finding vinyl copies: for example, Jazz Impressions of the USA, the 1956 record from which the southwestern Argentian gothic Ode to a Cowboy here is taken? Next to impossible to find. Essentially, this a composer’s own favorite mixtape, complete with unreleased bonus track (a deliciously juiced-up Three to Get Ready). Or – here’s one interpretation you won’t find anywhere else – this is the real Brubeck for Lovers album. Consider: a few years ago, right around Valentine’s Day, there was a proliferation of jazz compilations “for lovers,” one of them a collection of compositions by Mr. B. Now compare these side by side:

Brubeck Plays for Lovers
You Go To My Head
My Romance
Love Is Here To Stay
My Heart Stood Still
I Thought About You
I See Your Face Before Me
For All We Know
My One Bad Habit
I’m Old Fashioned

Legacy of a Legend
Jeepers Creepers
Taking a Chance on Love
The Duke
Someday My Prince Will Come
Ode to a Cowboy
Thank You
Camptown Races
Gone with the Wind
Blue Rondo a la Turk
Take Five
My One Bad Habit
Unsquare Dance
Summer Song
Something to Sing About
You Go to My Head
Mr. Broadway
Three to Get Ready
Out of Nowhere
St. Louis Blues

Only two shared tracks between the albums, You Go to My Head and My One Bad Habit. But what an amazing date album this is. It’s got everything that made Brubeck a rockstar – a real star, not just a cult icon – back in the 50s: the schlock-made-interesting (Jeepers Creepers, Camptown Races), the cinematic stuff (Gone with the Wind, Summer Song), the tributes and classic covers (The Duke, Someday My Prince Will Come, St. Louis Blues) and Brubeck’s classics themselves. You want romance? Who can resist the wry twists and turns of Unsquare Dance, the high-Romantic japes of Blue Rondo a la Turk, the devious, very subtle satire of Mr. Broadway, or, for that matter, Paul Desmond’s unselfconscious angst on Take Five? Forget Xmas, get this for Valentine’s Day, for someone other than yourself. Granted, this is stuff for sophisticated snuggling, not for the Lady Gag crowd, but if you’re a Lady Gag fan, you’re probably not reading this. You’re probably not reading anything at all. It’s up at all the usual spots, fifteen bucks at itunes.

December 19, 2010 Posted by | jazz, Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Album of the Day 12/19/10

Every day our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Sunday’s album is #772:

Machito y Su Orquesta – Esta Es Graciela

By the time the legendary Cuban-American bandleader and his sultry chanteuse sister released this album in 1964, he was in his fifties and she was getting close. But neither show their age. Only the arrangements are more lush and sensual, by comparison to the animated intensity of the band’s work in previous decades. Machito may or may not have invented salsa, but his orchestra was the one that everybody imitated, right through the end of the 60s and even beyond: the Fania era never would have happened without him. Likewise, Graciela Gutierrez-Perez, who died earlier this year at 94, set the standard for salsa divas. She could be brassy or coy and she could work a song’s innuendo the same way she worked a crowd. This one shows off both her sides: El Albanico, a slinky, sly duet with Machito; the crafty, sexy Mi Querido Santi Clo; the fast, bubbly mambo Estoy A Mil; the downright seductive Ay Jose; the lavishly orchestrated son montuno of El Gato Tiene Tres Patas; the sad, brooding Ya Tu No Estas; the characteristically tongue-in-cheek, risque Celos Negros, and the balmy tropicalia ballad Si No Eres Tu, and four others ranging from lavishly lush to swinging dance numbers. Frequently reissued and often bootlegged, later versions constantly turn up in used record stores that sell latin music. Otherwise, Fania has the cd; here’s a random torrent.

December 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment