Brubeck’s 18th album for Telarc follows on his 2004 solo release Private Brubeck Remembers, which had a WWII theme concept. When Telarc’s President Bob Woods suggested the Indian Summer title idea to Brubeck, he began to reminisce about his Native American friends when at high school in Northern California. His first date had been with an Indian girl and he was thinking of tunes with that sort of slant. But then his wife Iola (they celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary next month) – in what he terms “a typical husband and wife dispute” – set him straight about the philosophical implications of Wood’s title: the “Indian Summer” referring to this period of his long life in music.
So what we have in these 16 tracks are some nostalgic classics such as Victor Herbert’s title tune, Kurt Weill’s September Song, Eubie Blake’s Memories of You and Kern’s I’m Alone. In the process of setting Dave straight on the album’s concept, Iola got in not one but three tunes which she had composed together with her husband. Dave has been facing the challenges of doing solo piano albums for many decades now. One of my favorite jazz LPs is an early Fantasy disc titled Dave Brubeck Plays and Plays and Plays. I love the cover art by Arnold Roth, with various famous classical composers looking critically over his shoulder. It provides an interesting contrast to how Dave sounds today, which is less incisive and not quite as hard swinging, but with gorgeously complex harmonic changes and phrasings, and of course much enhanced stereo sonics – originally recorded via the DSD process. Can’t complain about short playing time for this jazz album either.
TrackList: You’ll Never Know, I’m Alone, Autumn in Our Town, So Lonely, I’m Afraid the Masquerade Is Over, I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You, Pacific Hall, September Song, Summer Song, Thank You, Georgia On My Mind, Spring Is Here, Sweet Lorraine, Memories of You, This Love of Mine, Indian Summer.
– John Henry