Dave Brubeck: Here Lies Love
Here Lies Love
Dave Brubeck (piano)
Dave Brubeck at Storyville 1954 (Fresh Sounds FSR-CD 414)
Composed by Leo Robin & Ralph Rainger.
Recorded: live at Storyville. Boston, MA, July 22, 1954
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
"Dave Brubeck? Oh, he can't swing, just clobbers those keys; weird galumphing rhythms and oddball time stuff. Without Desmond he'd never have gotten off the West Coast!" Not long ago, one would encounter such pronouncements regularly; even now, as the mighty Dave shoulders on, nearing 90, a few stubborn Jazzoids still make the claim. But Brubeck always heard things differently, some strange combo of Native-American drumming, Bach-analian counterpoint, and Milhaud modernism; he loved to hit block chords, counter a solid drummer, shift the tempo sideways, and mostly leave the melodic stuff to Paul.
Yet sometimes he'd go for beauty, his touch feather-light, the result as soft as a lover's whisper. In the early formative days of the Quartet, most of the group's big recordings came from college concerts. But Dave sounded even better on several performances taped during dates at Boston's Storyville club by some fan with a $100 recorder. (Fantasy and Columbia both issued selections from those serendipitous recordings.) The most tender are his inspired no-drums versions of "You Go to My Head" plus "Over the Rainbow" (both from October 1952). Nearly two years later, Brubeck and Desmond returned to Storyville, and one senses they had those earlier, peaceful moments in mind.
On the entrancing 6-minute "Here Lies Love," Dave introduces the hypnotic melody, and Paul makes a brief restatement, then Dave takes over to walk with Bob Bates's bass up and around the tune, building the intensity some, but still resisting his favored mode of cross-rhythms attack. Paul reenters to float one of his lazily ethereal solos up and across the club's smoky ceiling, offering a couple of casual nods to Classical themes en route, then settling lower, returning to the melody, right in tandem with Dave to take it out. No fireworks, no bombast (another anti-Brubeck word), just quiet beauty carried by the gentle touch some say this pianist never had.
Reviewer: Ed Leimbacher
Tags: 1950s jazz