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Arts and Culture

Review of Brubeck plays Brubeck at Ronnie Scotts

Nov 15, 2011

The Brubeck sons received a four out of five stars review by Clive Davis of the London Times of their concert at Ronnie Scotts in London, UK.  For more information about their tour, "Brubeck plays Brubeck," visit dariusbrubeck.com

The following review appear on November 10 in the London Times:

"At the end of a joyous second set the pianist Darius Brubeck and his brothers cued in the audience's handclaps on Unsquare Dance. More than half a century after their father invited listeners to start counting in odd numbers, the music has lost none of its poise. If Dave Brubeck was not treated kindly by Fifties critics, who seemed suspicious of his ability to reach out to folk who would never have been caught wearing a beret, history has surely vindicated him.

At 90, the patriarch is no longer a globetrotter, but Darius, drummer Dan and bass guitarist-trombonist Chris are doing a sterling job of spreading the word. (Another member of the clan, Matt, an excellent cellist and sometime collaborator with Yo-Yo Ma, has made a name for himself with bands including the wonderfully quirky Oranj Symphonette.) Launching their tour alongside British tenor saxophonist Dave O'Higgins, the three brothers cannily balanced respect for the past with a determination to push on further down the road.

O'Higgins brings muscle as well as brains to the line-up. On Take Five his solo brought a hint of Coltrane into the mix. If the group's version of Blue Rondo à la Turk was a mite ponderous in comparison with the original, the remainder of the programme grew in stature. Darius is as cultured a pianist as his father. His own composition The Lion at the Bar - inspired by memories of his time as an educator in South Africa - opened with tremulous, Abdullah Ibrahim-like chords before swooping into an impassioned township rhythm.

Chris Brubeck's graceful lines on the fretless bass stirred a subtle counterpoint throughout. Brother Dan's pony-tail may not be the last word in hipster fashion, but his drumming was an immaculate fusion of power and dexterity. Joe Morello would surely have approved of the epic solo on Take Five. Early in the second set, Chris demonstrated his versatility by switching to trombone for a mellifluous version ofStrange Meadowlark, Darius supplying the accompaniment. The group's residency ends on Saturday."

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