Dave Brubeck

One Alone

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Dave Brubeck rarely recorded as a solo pianist, but beginning in the late '90s, he started performing occasional solo pieces in concert and recorded two first-rate solo dates for Telarc. His third solo CD for the label is full of rich harmonies that any Brubeck fan can identify as his in seconds, including a mix of memorable but overlooked songs from the 1920s through the 1940s, plus a few choice standards and a pair of his timeless originals. Brubeck clearly loves old ballads like "That Old Feeling" and "I'll Never Smile Again," and there are several classics that are perfect vehicles for Brubeck. "Someone to Watch Over Me" is yet another lush ballad, while his unusual chord substitutions to the very familiar "Over the Rainbow" are dazzling. He ventures into Duke Ellington's repertoire, obviously having fun with the jaunty "Just Squeeze Me" but at a slower tempo than one would expect; his percussive swinging take of "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" is just as fun but wilder. Brubeck only features two of his own works, but they are among his best. "Weep No More" is the obscure song, appearing first as a part of his 1956 solo piano LP for Columbia, Brubeck Plays Brubeck; this poignant melody deserves to be better known than it is. "Summer Song," written as a vocal feature for Louis Armstrong in Dave & Iola Brubeck's short-lived production The Real Ambassadors, has gradually become a jazz standard. This highly recommended CD is yet another of his finest hours.

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