Dave Brubeck: Unsquare Dance


Unsquare Dance


Dave Brubeck (piano)


Time Further Out (Legacy 64668)

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Dave Brubeck (piano), Eugene Wright (bass), Joe Morello (drums).

Composed by Dave Brubeck


Recorded: New York, May 3-June 8, 1961


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

Even at 2:02, "Unsquare Dance" lingers in the listener's memory long after the tune has ceased. As a pop hit, it is familiar to anyone, and its un-imitated sound is energetically driven by snappy drums, handclaps and finger snaps that fall precisely on the beat and complement the percussion well. Dave Brubeck's short yet sweet piano motifs seem influenced by both classical and early American music; the entire Time Further Out album is constructed in a similar manner, and this cut fits in well with the disc's intended concept. Riffs that echo Chopin intertwine with a quick run-through of "Turkey in the Straw," and, without Paul Desmond's usually omnipresent sax or even much content, the tune floats atop slight yet unsubtle rhythmic variations meant to push through the boundaries defined by the composition's odd time signature. Ultimately the music is engaging, and instead of dancing (as per the title), listeners will prefer to hum along to Brubeck's brief melody and tap their feet with the constant rhythm that the bass and drums outline. The Wright/Morello duo forms the composition's core; they are responsible for its destination, and the track winds up in uncharted territory.

Reviewer: Marcus Singletary

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