Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck in Berlin

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One of the hardest albums to acquire for most Dave Brubeck fans is In Berlin, a 1964 concert by his quartet released only in Germany by CBS. Since the set list includes two songs that were recorded at the 1963 Carnegie Hall concert, that may be why it wasn't also issued in the United States by Columbia, though the performances are sufficiently different and well played. Desmond is witty as usual in "St. Louis Blues," though Brubeck adds an amusing Charlie Parker lick in his solo and bassist Eugene Wright also shines. Brubeck's "Koto Song," which had just been recorded a few months earlier for the LP Jazz Impressions of Japan, gave the audience a taste of something new. The composer's economical solo contrasts with his supposed reputation for heavy-handed playing. The group's breezy rendition of "Take the 'A' Train" is followed by the inevitable "Take Five." Recorded for radio broadcast by WDR Cologne, the commercial release was an afterthought following the concert, when Brubeck asked about the possibility. Briefly reissued on CD, though only in Europe, this enjoyable release remains a difficult acquisition.

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