The Dave Brubeck Quartet – The Last Time Out (Unreleased live concert from 1967) – Sony Legacy (no #) 2 CDs – 47:52, 50:17 [11/11/11] *****:
(Dave Brubeck, piano; Paul Desmond, alto sax; Joe Morello, drums; Eugene Wright, bass)
On December 26, 1967, the classic Brubeck Quartet gave its last concert as a group in Pittsburgh. Columbia had done a studio session for the occasion the same month, but was never released due to not having much interesting in it. The Brubeck Archives (at the pianist’s home) has had this live recording all along, and it reveals all four musicians at their top form in this last opportunity to play together. Though nearly everything had gone to stereo by this late date (stereodiscs had hit the market in 1958) this recording is just mono, and not quite as good sound as the three other commercial releases made from this final tour.
I recall Dave inserting the Air Force song into what he was playing when planes frequently took off from the airport close to the Monterey Jazz Festival, and here on “Three to Get Ready” he inserts some of “The 12 Days of Christmas” since this was being taped at Christmas time. When the quartet toured the world, Dave often picked up ethnic tunes from the environment—just as Ellington and others had done before him. In one of the Mexican tours the quartet learned the folk song “The Blue Dove,” (La Paloma) which they do here, and the closer on the first set—”Someday My Prince Will Come”—is a major piece of work, which stayed in the quartet’s prime repertory for many years.
The unexpected “Swanee River” comes after the introduction of the quartet’s members at the beginning of the second set (second disc). Dave quotes a bit of “Lullaby of the Leaves” in the midst of his solo here. The penultimate tracks gives Joe Morello a chance to really do his stuff: “For Drummers Only.” And of course the quartet had to close out with biggest hit: “Take Five.” They don’t seem the least bit jaded by surely having to do this one every single night—it swings like mad, has a number of variations on the usual version (Dave going Middle Eastern on one part), and things are rounded off in a spectacular fashion.
TrackList, Disc 1: Introduction, St Louis Blues, Three to Get Ready, These Foolish Things, Cielito Lindo, The Blue Dove, Take the “A” Train, Someday My Prince Will Come.
TrackList, Disc 2: Members presentation, Swanee River, I’m in a Dancing Mood, You Go to my Head, Set my People Free, For Drummers Only, Take Five.
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