The 40th Anniversary Tour of the U.K.

Dave Brubeck

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The 40th Anniversary Tour of the U.K. Review

by Jim Newsom

Forty years after his classic quartet's first triumphant tour of the U.K. in 1958, Dave Brubeck took his then current group back for an anniversary visit, playing a mixed bag of old and new songs for fans both old and new. This time out, Brubeck's working quartet included two British natives, drummer Randy Jones and bassist Alec Dankworth (the son of British jazz superstars Cleo Laine and John Dankworth). Brubeck himself was the obvious draw for the crowds, but it's saxman Bobby Militello who is truly the musical star of the show. The highly regarded Militello shows he can roam across the entire spectrum of alto saxophone tonality, employing a light, delicate tone à la Paul Desmond one minute, then bearing down for some gritty, deep-throated improvisations the next. Brubeck's unmistakable pianism remains as identifiable as ever, comping and soloing with the same energy he undoubtedly had 40 years earlier. "Goodbye Old Friend," his solo farewell to friend Gerry Mulligan, is beautiful. The new material is more interesting than the older stuff, with Brubeck's tango "The Time of Our Madness" and blues-inflected "Oh You Can Run (But You Can't Hide)" particular standouts. However, Militello enlivens even the old warhorse "I Got Rhythm," and Brubeck himself digs fresh ideas out of "Deep Purple."

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