The Darius Brubeck Quartet - Cathy's Summer
(Gathering Forces Music GF6. CD Review by Frank Griffith)
Pianist, composer and the eldest progeny of Dave Brubeck, Darius, has just released Cathy's Summer and dedicated the album, which "evokes a mellow late summer mood", to his wife, "after a joyful run of summer gigs in 2014". Recorded in October 2014 at Dave O'Higgins' studio, this offering includes a wondrous mix of Brubeck pieces along with classic standards as well a lesser known Ellington number entitled Liberian Suite - Dance No. 3.
What is particularly remarkable about Cathy's Summer is how well what might initially appear to be a disparate mix of reperotire adds up to such a harmonious blend of selections that binds together this collection well.
The leader's lyrical, yet emotive elocution of these themes are offset by his focussed rhythmic acuity. This is not unlike his father's devotion to exploring different time signatures and grooves spurred on with the classic 1959 Dave Brubeck Quartet LP Time Out.
Saxophonist Dave O'Higgins, who not only plays on the date but engineered it as well, sparkles throughout with his clear and penetrating tone aided by a clean and seamless technique. His singing tonal quality goes a long way in delivering the anthemic Brubeck melodies giving them a timeless regality.
The solid rhythmic team of bassist, Matt Ridley, and South African drummer, Wes Gibbens, have been working with Darius for eight years and the teamwork shown as well as comfort with Brubeck's music is clearly evident here.
Particularly enjoyable for this listener was Brubeck's clever reworking of the chordal scheme of John Coltrane's Giant Steps resulting in Cathy's Summer. It is a refreshing delight, which does not descend into pastiche. Also, dig the touching reading of the Washington/Young chestnut, I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You putting the entire summer of love into context.
As Darius says in his liner note, Cathy's Summer is dedicated to the fifth member of the quartet, "our creative organiser, motivator, sometime muse and fellow- traveller, Cathy Brubeck." Hear hear and lets celebrate what this tireless, talented and hard-working woman does for this great music.