Dave Brubeck

Young Lions & Old Tigers

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To celebrate his 75th birthday, Dave Brubeck recorded one number apiece with quite a variety of top jazz stars, both young and old. Some of the performances (which alternate duets with quartets) work better than others (eight are recent Brubeck compositions) but all of the musicians display mutual respect, and it is obvious that the guests are all fans of the still-masterful pianist. Trumpeter Roy Hargrove plays beautifully on his lyrical feature but Jon Hendricks, who sings "How High the Moon" as a ballad, takes it at such a slow tempo as to be dreary. Tenor-saxophonist Michael Brecker is fine on "Michael Brecker Waltz," although he sounds a bit restrained, the wittily-titled "Here Comes McBride" is a good-humored romp with bassist Christian McBride; Joe Lovano (on tenor) works well with Brubeck, and particularly memorable is the first meeting on record between Brubeck and fellow pianist George Shearing, with a chance-taking interpretation of "In Your Own Sweet Way." Joshua Redman performs fine hard bop on one song, "Together," is a well-conceived duet for baritonist Gerry Mulligan and Brubeck, James Moody plays tenor, sings, and yodels on the minor blues "Moody," Mulligan returns for the contrapuntal "Gerry-Go-Round," and, although the obscure flugelhornist Ronnie Buttacavoli sounds very out of place on his boring feature, the set closes with one of the strongest performances, a solo piano showcase for Brubeck on "Deep in a Dream." Overall, this is quite a mixed bag but, even with its occasional misses, the CD is a must for Dave Brubeck fans, because the pianist is consistently inventive throughout the unusual set.

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