An odd dynamic imparted a piquant flavor to the proceedings: the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, founded in 1865, was a magnet for talented instrumentalists, but no jazz was studied within its walls back in 1953. Even Milhaud or Bartok would have been dicey, but bringing Milhaud's eccentric student Mr. Brubeck to campus was close to heresy. Nor were jazz concerts on college campuses common back in this era -- indeed, Brubeck did more than anyone else to pioneer this concept with events such as the Oberlin date. As a result, Brubeck & Co. had an audience packed with aspiring musicians who must have felt they were witnessing some aural samizdat that had somehow been smuggled into Finney Chapel. This serene Romanesque building had once featured Rachmaninov, but now it was "Man, you can't rock enough!"
More than 50 years have elapsed, but you can still pick up the powerful vibes on this recording. The audience is energized and the band feeds off their enthusiasm. Desmond is very loose yet also keyed up, and he stretches out with an electrifying solo. Brubeck follows with a wild improvisation, teasing with bits of polytonality, full of allusions to other standards, sometimes tinkling, more often booming with grandiose two-fisted chords. When Desmond returns to engage in counterpoint with the pianist, the chemistry between the duo is magical.
July 05, 2008 · 0 commentsTags: perdido
March 07, 2008 · 0 commentsTags: perdido
After taping himself in concert with an all-star quintet, Charles Mingus listened to playbacks. The group was fabulous, with Diz & Bird in top form. His own bass, however, had been woefully under-recorded. Solution? Overdub a new bassline. Result? Calamitous. Given mid-1950s technology, Mingus #2 easily overpowered but could neither eliminate nor be precisely synchronized with Mingus #1. Consequently, his disconcerting duel with himself maddeningly muddles both tempo and harmony. Fantasy’s 12-CD Complete Debut Recordings (1992) reproduces the undoctored tape, but all other releases use the corrupted version, making its revisionist history definitive for most listeners. Mingus should’ve left bad enough alone.
October 27, 2007 · 0 commentsTags: perdido
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