There is something wonderful and wonderfully soothing about LifeTimes by the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, the fourth by the group. Perhaps I’m biased as I am a great fan of Dave Brubeck and the thought of his sons – bassist/trombonist Chris Brubeck, drummer Dan Brubeck, and honorary brothers/bandmates Mike DeMicco, and guitarist/pianist Chuck Lamb – laying down this tribute to him just touched my heart and ears quite powerfully.
Composed of a nice mix of classic Brubeck songs, though reworked and freshly recorded so that they almost sound like contemporary songs, the album ends with a Paul Desmond tune that Dave basically staked a claim to long ago by virtue of his amazing interpretation. In truth, long story short, my only complaint about anything at all having to do with this release is that it is much too short for my tastes, as it clocks in at just under 56 minutes.
I want more but I’ll eagerly take and love what I was given.
What I was given, it turns out, was a lovely homage to a historically important artist that truly shines a fresh light on how amazing some of the original music was. It was also an introduction, at least on my part, to the amazing musicianship of the Brubeck Brothers Quartet.
Usually, I have my head buried in the sand as I listen obsessively to earlier jazz albums – hence my love of the entire “Time” sequence of albums by Dave Brubeck – but these guys easily demonstrate how detrimental that approach can be towards my ability to listen to some amazing jazz music.
The playing that takes place on LifeTimes – the wondrous combination of swing, melodic majesty, masterful arrangements and a truckload of truly inspirational solos – just adds a vibrancy and color to songs I thought I knew and loved on a deep level. It turns out that there was still plenty of depth I could have discovered. I just needed someone to point the way and that is exactly what these four gentleman have done through LifeTimes.
Through each listening of this album I’ve tried to imagine what Dave Brubeck himself thinks of it. Does he love the freight train of melody that “Jazzanians” brings to the arena? Does he bow his head and recognize the soulful mastery of son, Chris Brubeck’s trombone lead on “My One Bad Habit”?
Does it all make him happy to listen to as it does me? I hope so. I hope he hears the love that his sons have for him and his music as it plays out in every single note on this release.
This is a wonderful album and whether or not you are familiar with Dave Brubeck’s work, it is one that you will enjoy if you simply love jazz music or music in general.
Have I said wow, yet? Wow. It’s a great album.