The Dave Brubeck Quartet in Europe was one of the tougher Columbia LPs to acquire for fans of the pianist, though it was finally reissued by Sony in Japan in 1999. Excerpted from a pair of concerts recorded in Europe during a spring tour in 1958, the quartet is in top form, while Brubeck is hardly the heavy-handed pianist that many early critics claimed him to be on these rewarding performances. The opener is "Wonderful Copenhagen," a delightful obscurity that Frank Loesser wrote for the musical Hans Christian Andersen. The leader penned the lovely ballad "My One Bad Habit Is Falling in Love" and "Watusi Drums," the latter a feature for drummer Joe Morello. Alto saxophonist Paul Desmond is prominent throughout the recording, where his lyricism and witty quotes especially of note in the extended treatment of the standard "Tangerine." Bassist Eugene Wright is far more than just a timekeeper, as he contributed "The Wright Groove," a catchy blues that is naturally a feature for its composer. It is puzzling as to why this valuable album has yet to be reissued by the Legacy label of Sony, but it may eventually appear in the U.S.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet in Europe Review
by Ken Dryden