Dave Brubeck: The Golden Horn


The Golden Horn


Dave Brubeck (piano)


Jazz Impressions of Eurasia (Columbia/Legacy CK 48531)

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

Composed by Dave Brubeck


Recorded: New York, July 28, 30, August 23, 1958


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

I lived in Turkey in the mid-'50s, and that's where as a young teen I first heard the Dave Brubeck Quartet (some soldier's LP echoing down the halls of a hospital ward). In retrospect, I believe it was one of the early Fantasy albums, but the la Turk suggestion a couple of years later connected me straightaway to his Columbia recordings of "Blue Rondo la Turk" and this tune.

According to Dave, the rhythm of "The Golden Horn" came from the Turkish words for "thank you" ok te?ekkr ederim. But the import is more exotic than some dry bit of linguistics, as both rhythm and melody are meant to evoke that narrow curving portion of the Bosporus estuary that divides Istanbul in half Europe on one side and Asia on the other and maybe the busy Galata Bridge reconnecting the two halves.

Joe Morello works the toms feverishly while Dave rips through a flickering, dissonant suggestion of a tune, but it's Paul Desmond's alto wail that most conveys Eurasia; he actually flirts with some snake-charmer Coltrane for a moment, but then backs away, relinquishing the headlong rush again to Dave and Joe in tandem (Dave unable to resist adding counter rhythms, of course), then Joe pounding alone. Near the very end, Brubeck and Desmond speed back in to shape multi-voiced echoes of that repeated rhythm till the performance stops abruptly, having thanked all.

Reviewer: Ed Leimbacher


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