Dave Brubeck (with Paul Desmond): Blue Moon
Dave Brubeck (piano)
Dave Brubeck & Paul Desmond (Fantasy 24727)
Composed by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.
Recorded: Surf Club, Hollywood, October 1952
Rating: 93/100 (learn more)
At the start of this 1953 track, Brubeck actually plays "Blue Moon" straight, sticking to the original chords and not engaging in any of his usual games. Ah, but we know this won't last for long. Brubeck and Desmond always had some tricks up their sleeves, especially during this early period, when no standard was given the standard treatment. Midway through Desmond's solo, the band moves from major to minor, and the altoist starts playing unexpected variations on "Lullaby of the Leaves," which another famous West Coast quartet had recorded five months earlier. Brubeck is not to be outdone, and kicks off his solo with some off-the-wall counterpoint, before showing that he can also play the major-to-minor switcheroo. Before they have called it a night, this band has played "Blue Moon" and "Red Moon" and "Tangerine Mood" and every other shade they could muster on the fly. These early Brubeck-Desmond sides are always a delight, and sound very spontaneous. You can hear the fun these two creative minds had in playing off each other's wildest flights. A winning moment from a historic band.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia