This 2 for 1 CD brings together live sets from both sides of the Atlantic, the first from a 1995 performance at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC and the second recorded during a 1998 tour of England. As Brubeck celebrates his 80th birthday, this recording is a testament to the vitality of his compositions and showcases the wide range of his genius in a career spanning seven decades.
Disc One (USA) features four tunes previously unrecorded by Brubeck, including "Easy to Love" and a joyous rendition of "On the Sunny Side of the Street." On his ever popular "Take Five," Brubeck and company seemingly reinvent the first jazz "hit" single, infusing it with the warmth and spontaneity so characteristic of their live performances.
Longtime companion and alto saxophonist Bobby Militello shines throughout this special evening, drawing upon his considerable talent and infectious humor. On two different solos he quotes a line from "Stranger in Paradise," a sly commentary on the magnificent cathedral setting where this performance takes place.
Disc One (USA) was recorded in June of 1995 and is the twin of Brubeck's earlier Telarc release To Hope (CD-80430), which featured the Cathedral Choral Society Chorus and Orchestra. Inspired by the vast acoustical space, To Hope is a contemporary Mass penned by Brubeck, a beautiful marriage of both jazz and classical repertoire that captures two sides of this amazing musical personality.
Disc Two (UK) was recorded December 10-12, 1998 at Royal Festival Hall in London, St. David's Hall in Cardiff and Derngate Hall in Northampton using the Direct Stream Digital recording system. These dates mark Brubeck's triumphant return to England, forty years after he brought his quartet across the ocean to an appreciative British audience.
Featured on the UK recordings are Brits Alec Dankworth on bass and Randy Jones on drums. Along with Bobby Militello and Brubeck, the Quartet delivers a mix of standards and original compositions including the 1920's-vintage tune "Margie." They take on Ellington's "A-Train" in swinging fashion and close with "Be Natural Blues," the first time this Brubeck original has been captured on record.
One of the living legends of jazz, Brubeck's career is studded with milestones. Born in Concord, CA in 1920, he majored in music at the College of the Pacific in Stockton, CA and following a tour of duty in World War II, returned to Europe to study under the famous French composer Darius Milhaud, after whom his first son is named. The Dave Brubeck Trio, featuring Cal Tjader and Ron Crotty, captured the Best New Instrumental Group in both Down Beat and Metronome and heralded the countless awards and distinctions that would follow. In 1954, Brubeck graced the cover of Time magazine and was credited with ushering in the rebirth of jazz. The 1960's classic Time Out yielded two singles, "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk," perhaps the most recognized melodies in the entire jazz lexicon. Time Out earned the Brubeck quartet and modern jazz its first gold record.