Dave Brubeck: Maori Blues


Maori Blues


Dave Brubeck (piano)


Time Further Out (Columbia Legacy CK 64668)

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

Composed by Dave Brubeck


Recorded: New York, June 8, 1961


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

Dave Brubeck has said that Darius Milhaud (his mentor at Mills College in the late '40s) "told me to travel the world and keep my ears open." Well, Brubeck's "big ears" have stood him in good stead during 60 years of traveling, listening, absorbing, and composing--and one piece of that global crazy quilt is his "Maori Blues," resulting from a welcoming ceremony his Quartet experienced in New Zealand in 1959. (There's even a fuzzy-but-fun photo of this event tucked down under the disc in the CD tray of Time Further Out, the familiar album with the goofy Joan Miró cover.)

Nominally a blues, Dave's tune is another "Time" experiment in 6/4, and it displays so much building energy that one might call it a "stomp" instead. The piano starts a repeated series of notes, and the bass and drums instantly lock into the then-uncommon, staggered groove (Paul Desmond sits this one out), releasing Dave's pent-up spirits and allowing him to work out some "native" aggression: the listener hears rough dancing, pounding feet, high emotions, slapped strings, pummeled keys, cymbal crashes, beat-down drums … and then the illusion of slowing motion as the three happy tourists pull together to dance off the set and out the door, with Joe's last bam answered by Dave's vaudeville ba da da dum. (Yes, Mrs. Calabash, it's a fine example of the Maori, the merrier.)

Reviewer: Ed Leimbacher

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