Dave Brubeck: Southern Scene
Dave Brubeck (piano)
At Carnegie Hall (Columbia/Legacy C2K 61455)
Composed by Dave Brubeck.
Recorded: live at Carnegie Hall, New York, February 21, 1963
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
As well as roaming the world, the Dave Brubeck Quartet rollicked and rolled across America; and some "regional" albums resulted, with portraits of the South and New York City en route. One mostly forgotten tune of Dave's is "Southern Scene" from the album of the same name. The original version was pleasant but reserved (the LP lacks a CD release for good reason), but the Quartet revisited the tune during their acclaimed and happily recorded night at Carnegie Hall in February 1963.
Dave's bluesy opening is apropos if unexpected, nearly two minutes of lazily swaying piano, with maybe a hint of Fats Waller in slow-mo, bolstered by Joe Morello's brushwork and cymbal taps, and rock-solid Eugene Wright. Paul Desmond takes a sweetly piping, succinct-as-ever solo; then Dave keys in for several minutes more, to play the blues with feeling – a little taste of the broader jazz skills he mostly kept tucked in his hip pocket like a flask. Maybe the definitively swinging "St. Louis Blues" that opened this concert inspired Brubeck to head farther South and dig deeper, in the process shaping a surprise highlight on a night rife with them.
Reviewer: Ed Leimbacher