Recent listening, current

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

127. The Dave Brubeck Octet (1950)

I find this, the Octet's only studio album, a roaring good listen. I enjoy it alongside the Birth of the Cool by the Miles Davis Nonet. Both are similar in size and in their means of repurposing, so to speak, some of our more venerable standards like "What is this Thing Called Love" or "September in the Rain." The group's personnel is notable too, considering their different trajectories after the Octet: Tjader became known for the vibes, Van Kriedt for education, and Collins for Woody Herman. The pieces have tight arrangements that sound cool and loose, reeling with the energy and excitement of dixieland. But there's an ever present discipline behind them, too, and the innovation of infusing jazz with classical forms of writing and arranging. The soloists are concise, wrapping their choruses in 8 or 12 bars, staying close to the melody with strong voice leading. Many stayed in the repertoire of the Dave Brubeck Quartet so it's fun to compare the bobbing and weaving counterpoint with later performances of the same tunes, like our opener "The Way You Look Tonight," which I associate with Desmond's snarky quotes from Stravinsky and that nasty blues lick from Jazz at Oberlin. In fact, come to think of it, it's been a while since giving that one a spin....

No comments:

Post a Comment