Chris Brubeck

Triple Play: Watching the World

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This trio's second CD was intended to capture the spirit of their concerts in a studio setting, which it does: all that is missing is enthusiastic applause. The trio (Chris Brubeck, Joel Brown, and Peter Madcat Ruth) all come from diverse musical backgrounds, yet all of them are experts in cross-pollinating several diverse forms, including blues, rock, folk, and occasionally a bit of jazz. They collaborated on several of the tunes as they toured the country, starting with "Topeka Flyer," a funky instrumental blues that suggests a train steaming full-ahead in open country. Quite a few of the tracks are humorous, with Madcat's vocals and bluesy harmonica often stealing the show, especially in the brisk blues "Lady Luck's Gone South" (the tale of a downtrodden gambler). Brubeck's "The Mighty Mrs. Hippy," a rare boogie-woogie in five-four time, features Brubeck playing some mean piano and singing lead, with guitarist Joel Brown's father, Frank, on clarinet, and son Andrew on cello making guest appearances. "Memphis Hesitation" is a wild blues in seven-four time featuring Brown on guitar and the whimsical jaw harp of Madcat. The trio jointly composed "Triple Play Blues" and alternate the lead vocal between them, making it clear they're having a great time performing together; Brubeck even adds an overdubbed chorus or two on bass trombone. "Watching the World Go By" is a soothing closer, with Madcat overdubbing a line on kalimba (similar to an African thumb piano). It's great to hear a group that combines top-notch musicianship, potent originals, and a touch of humor, this CD is truly a Triple Play in any fan's score book.

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