Mark Zaleski

OUR TIME: REIMAGINING DAVE BRUBECK

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Tom Henry, The Blade (Toledo)

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Perhaps we need to start off by saying what isn't on this Dave Brubeck tribute album.

There's no "Take Five."

Though composed by saxophonist Paul Desmond, it was recorded by Desmond, Brubeck, and other members of the Dave Brubeck Quartet on July 1, 1959, for what became the group's legendary album, Time Out.

A worldwide sensation, "Take Five" catapulted Desmond and the rest of Brubeck's group into the stratosphere of fame. It became the biggest-selling jazz single of all time, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1996.

What this tribute album has, though, is a pretty cool — though imperfect — version of the second most-famous song on Time Out, "Blue Rondo A La Turk." It features Zaleski on sax pulling off a fine rendition.

The rest of the disc has the soul, fabric, and texture of music that defined Brubeck, although it's a tall order trying to capture the essence of such an icon. The arrangements and performances are fine, but there's still a little something missing.

Zaleski, an early graduate of the prestigious Dave Brubeck Institute in California, said that jazz pianist great Dave Brubeck and his wife, Iola Brubeck, helped form his musical vision and talent.

He said Brubeck once told him it's imperative that he and others "find our own voice" if they're going to play his music, rather than trying to duplicate what Brubeck did.

Great advice.

And Zaleski's group is almost there, scratching on the surface of something really good.

Other songs include "The Duke," a 1955 Brubeck composition dedicated to Duke Ellington, and "They Say I Look Like God," a civil rights song originally written for Louis Armstrong to sing in the jazz musical, The Real Ambassadors.

With Our Time: Reimagining Dave Brubeck does succeed in providing modern arrangements for some Brubeck hits. It's a pleasant enough take on his legacy, but that legacy is a pretty darned big one.

By the time he died in December of 2012, one day shy of his 92nd birthday, Brubeck had released nearly 100 albums.

None were as famous as Time Out, the first jazz album to sell more than a million copies. He was a hit on college campuses before the British Invasion, and was the second jazz musician after Louis Armstrong to appear on the cover of Time magazine.








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