The Dave Brubeck Quartet at Carnegie Hall (2LP)
Dave Brubeck - piano [click here to see more vinyl featuring Dave Brubeck]
Paul Desmond - alto saxophone [click here to see more vinyl featuring Paul Desmond]
Eugene Wright (b); Joe Morello (dr)
Written by Dave Brubeck (A2, B2, B3, C2, C3, D1, D2), Iola Brubeck (C2), William Christopher Handy (A1), John Frederick Coots (A3), Sam Lewis (A3), Arthur Johnston (A4), Johnny Burke (A4), Paul Desmond (C1, D3)
2 LPs, gatefold sleeve
Original analog Master tape : YES
Heavy Press : 180g
Record color : black
Speed : 33 RPM
Size : 12'’
Record Press : Pallas
Label : Speakers Corner
Original Label : Columbia
Recording: February 1963 Carnegie Hall, New York
Mastered by: Willem Makkee
Production: Teo Macero
Originally released in 1959
Reissued in 2021
Side B :
Side C :
"Comparing this Speakers Corner reissue to an original black "360 Sound" 1A pressing favors the original, of course, which is more open and extended on top and allows the reverberant field to more fully flow and express itself. The Speakers Corner reissue is somewhat darker and veiled by comparison but without the original to compare it to, it's decent and very "analogue-y" sounding. And of course the Pallas pressing quality is superb. My used original gets "crunchy" in spots." Michael Fremer, Analog Planet, July 8, 2013
« For all those who have a big axe to grind with Brubeck, for all those who claim the band was only successful because they were predominantly white, or played pop-jazz, or catered to the exotica craze, or any of that, you are invited to have all of your preconceptions, tepid arguments, and false impressions hopelessly torn to shreds by one of the great live jazz albums of the 1960s. The Dave Brubeck Quartet at Carnegie Hall is a date that showcases the finest elements of the storied Brubeck Quartet, which featured, alongside Brubeck's piano, alto innovator Paul Desmond, bassist Eugene Wright, and Joe Morello on drums. On this February night in 1963 -- either the 21 or 22nd depending on which side of the cover you believe -- W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" was given a knotty rhythmic workout it had never seen on Basin or Bourbon Street. Time signatures moved and shifted all over the tune for 12 minutes as Brubeck and Desmond exchanged cross-contrapuntal solos and melodic inventions back and forth. Movement, and plenty of it, was the identity this old nugget took on, with Brubeck taking Wright's cue and moving the blues into unheard-of harmonic spaces and intervals. At one point, with 16/4 time forcing itself onto the front line, Desmond makes his move quickly with one scalular interval to the top of the meter and stops. It's enough, he seems to be saying, that it gets brought back to a humane tempo before clamoring from a samba back into the blues before winding it out. And that's just for openers! The quartet move through all their hits and their new instincts gained from traveling abroad for the better part of six years. With cuts like "Bossa Nova U.S.A" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk," the quartet breathes new fire both melodically and tonally into its material, while other standards such as "Pennies from Heaven" were literally harmonically reinvented by the intense counterpoint, double and even triple, that went on between Desmond and Brubeck. And that's what this set is a reflection of: the Brubeck band would have loved to be recorded live every night they played. They hated the studio because there was nothing to compete against and no energy but their own to glean from. Check out "Eleven Four" and see where the audience in stuffy old Carnegie Hall is transformed into a hooting mob as Desmond solos his head off. When Brubeck pulls Ravel out of his back pocket and Wright accommodates him, setting a samba tempo for him to play against, the crowd may not know what they are hearing, but they flip just the same; they know something's happening and they're right there to experience his past harmonic indulgence mixed with the contrapuntal bop syntax from Desmond. It's no surprise that "Take Five" would take the set out, but given what has been played over two LPs, it's almost a comfort. There are fewer surprises here, it's true, but then, the tune's a groover anyway, and they grease it to the point of making it funky thanks to Wright's slapping at his bass in the middle section. This LP is perhaps the one essential Brubeck live album. While Take Five is rightfully a classic in that it changed everything, At Carnegie Hall reveals the band at the epitome of its musical -- harmonic, rhythmic, melodic, improvisational -- strength with near telepathic communication. It swings like a mother and offers an entirely new dimension to the definition of "melodic improvisation." AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
Many critics regard Dave Brubeck’s Carnegie Hall concert from February 1963 as his greatest ever live appearance. But who can really determine that? For no one – apart from Brubeck himself – would have seen and heard his conservatively estimated 12,000 concerts.
Although the twelve titles had already been released on LPs that had been recorded in the studio, these records were certainly not known to all those in the audience. In between the numbers on each LP, Brubeck made little 'advertising spots' in short comments, but with such charm and wit that one really cannot be angry with him.
The concert programme begins with "St. Louis Blues" and ends with "Take Five". Luckily, the solos are distributed among all the musicians, so that Paul Desmond and Joe Morello – whose prowess on this evening can only be called 'amazingly good' – justifiably received enthusiastic applause from both the audience and us alike. "Castilian Drums" demonstrates Morello’s wealth of ideas and his grandiose feeling for rhythm; though short, Paul Desmond’s solos ("Southern Scene" is a good example!) are compelling, highly melodic, lyrical and possess a unique tone – as such they are immediately recognisable.
How fortunate that the twelve brilliantly improvised numbers are now available once again on vinyl, having been recorded live at the legendary Carnegie Hall 60 years ago.
Allmusic : 4.3 / 5 , Discogs : Rate Your Music :
Michael Fremer : Sound : 8 / 10 , Music : 8 /10