Dave Brubeck

Private Brubeck Remembers

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In early 2004, Dave Brubeck reminisced about his days as a soldier during World War II for this two-CD set, playing solo piano interpretations of songs from that era. Brubeck, then recently married and promptly drafted after graduating from the College of the Pacific, almost ended up in combat before getting an opportunity to play with an army band, which caused a music-loving colonel to install the young private as director of the band. The music chosen seems to convey a special message to his wife, Iola, with bittersweet ballads ("For All We Know"), a jaunty "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else but Me)," and the dreamy interpretation of "Where or When." A surprising choice is "Lilly Marlene," a European song frequently played by Nazi propagandist broadcaster Axis Sally, which Brubeck is able to play in a lush setting. After the Germans succeeded in destroying nearly every bridge which crossed the Rhine River into their homeland in advance of the Allies, the bridge at Remagen was finally captured, though Brubeck's unit had to make due with a pontoon bridge due to its damaged state. His "We Crossed the Rhine" is a tense piece that evokes the still-dangerous conditions as they made their way into Germany. "Weep No More" is Brubeck's poignant ballad to his wife to let her know that he is out of danger for good, with the war in Europe at an end. He concludes the first disc with a dramatic interpretation of "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To." This limited-edition release is one of the most unique items in Brubeck's considerable discography, and should be snapped up without hesitation.

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