Dave Brubeck: Ode to a Cowboy


Ode to a Cowboy


Dave Brubeck (piano)


Jazz Impressions of the U.S.A. (Gambit Spain)

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Dave Brubeck (piano), Paul Desmond (alto sax), Norman Bates (bass), Joe Morello (drums).

Composed by Dave Brubeck


Recorded: New York, November 26, 1956


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

The first track on the first Dave Brubeck Jazz Impressions album (released in early 1957) cheerfully proclaimed what became a career-long vocation: composing jazz tunes occasioned by the sights and sounds and travails of global travel. But Brubeck's journey of many thousands of miles began with one small step, the tune "Ode to a Cowboy," which vaguely saluted the American West (and possibly Dave's ranch upbringing), but by way of the Argentine pampas!

A quasi-tango rhythm announces this lanky gaucho, with Brubeck's staccato melody offering a faint ghost of some "Old Cowhand" or other. Then Desmond's lonesome alto sings to the night herd over a loping 4/4, followed by Dave at a typical sidestepping trot as bass man Bates walks on till all the hands are reined in by that dislocated tango once more. Morello's sticks gallop off, horsing around to the very end. (Enough with the wordplay. Other than by title, if this number is really owed to a cowboy at all, I'll eat my Stetson.)

Reviewer: Ed Leimbacher

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