Dave Brubeck: Over the Rainbow


Over the Rainbow


Dave Brubeck (piano)


Dave Brubeck & Paul Desmond (Fantasy 24727)

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Dave Brubeck (piano), Paul Desmond (alto sax).

Composed by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg


Recorded: Storyville, Boston, October 1952


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

Twenty years after this performance was recorded at Boston's Storyville nightclub, a host of musicians (most of them associated with the ECM label) began playing jazz without relying on syncopation -- that essential rhythmic device that had propelled jazz performances since the birth of the art form. But Brubeck showed how to do it back in 1952. In this pioneering performance, Brubeck weaves a hypnotic web without relying on a single jazz cliché or any of the familiar devices of swing or bop. It was almost as if he were trying to construct an entirely new way of improvising at the keyboard. Brubeck pulls it off through the sheer brilliance of his reharmonization, and the shifting chiaroscuro textures of his reconfiguration of the Arlen standard. Paul Desmond joins in at the end -- almost as if he couldn't resist the allure of Brubeck's spell. But for all intents and purposes, this is a solo piano performance, and a telling reminder of why Brubeck caused such a stir with his early recordings.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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  • 1 Wellington Choy // Jan 12, 2008 at 04:58 AM
    I continue to be completely exhilarated by this track, ever since I first heard it in 1955. The quiet "A now, don't change it" that Brubeck mutters to Desmond before Desmond enters always makes me smile. I would rate it 100 out of 100.