Friday, March 9, 2012

CD Review: Chris Brubeck’s Triple Play “Live At Zankel”

Chris Brubeck’s TriplePlay  “Live At Zankel”

Live at Zankel Music Center

From Tin Pan Alley to the Mississippi and celebrating New Orleans Jazz, Blues, Jazz Standards and a sprinkling of originals written with an eclectic grouping of influences, Chris Brubeck and his band, Triple Play (with not a little bit of help from a couple of grand old gentlemen) deliver a music experience you won’t soon forget.

When your father is a bona fide jazz legend, your may not have musical talent in your DNA (but Chris certainly does), but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree either. Especially when you cut your teeth as the bassist (electric bass and trombone) in your fathers legendary band, The Dave Brubeck Quartet.  But Chris’ musical talent also wasn’t to be constrained. His influences roamed, and he made a name for himself for 30 years now touring with guitarist Joel Brown and singer and harmonica virtuoso Peter Madcat Ruth, as Triple Play. he’s also performed with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, performing his own classical composition, "Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra".

On Live at Zankel Music Center the listener gets a special treat. There’s a couple of 'very special guests on here.’ Namely guitarist Joel Brown's 85 year-old dad Frank on clarinet and Chris' dad, the incomparable 90 year-old Dave Brubeck on piano. But this is more than a tribute to a couple of grand old gentlemen. It’s filled with energy, it’s filled with humor (“Mighty Mrs. Hippy” lays it out, it turns into a 5/4 boogie woogie, and no one is insane enough to do that.). And on the jazz classics, “Blue Rondo Ala Turk, and Take Five, one thing is clear, Dave hasn’t slowed down a bit. Not his ability nor his hands.

Triple Play

The album is full of humor, full of great performances, full of good times and great music. Seattle Times critic Paul de Barros noted, "Triple Play is what jazz always was and always should be about: good-time rhythm, unbridled joy and the sweet release but bittersweet aftertaste of the blues." And that says it best.

Chris Brubeck, on the tail of his smash classical success as a composer - "Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra," which he recorded at Abbey Road Studios, led to a steady stream of classical commissions, such as "Interplay for 3 Violins and Orchestra," his Boston Pops commission for Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Eileen Ivers, and Regina Carter, and his second trombone work, "The Prague Concerto," recorded by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra and released on the Koch CD, convergence. So, it is great to hear him back with the goodtime jazz, blues setting and especially great to hear him with his father.


You can catch Triple Play in concert by checking their website for dates,also catch this great music with The Brubeck Brothers Quartet (Chris, Dan on drums, pianist Chuck Lamb, guitarist Mike DeMicco) they are scheduled in Kent, WA 4/6; Scullers, Boston 4/11; Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY (residency and concert) 4/12-13; Dubrovnik Festival 5/22-27; Vancouver, WA 6/16; Colorado Music Festival, Boulder 7/3; Vail, CO 7/5; Infinity Hall, Norfolk, CT 7/27; Rockport, ME 7/30-8/2; Tour of Russia 9/15-29. A new Brubeck Brothers CD will be out this summer, and the next Triple Play disc, recorded live in Singapore with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, is set for late 2012 release.

"I think there's no way to end the confusion or to define what I do," Brubeck says. "I just feel really grateful I have different areas to play in and work in and compose in. The Brubeck Brothers Quartet, Triple Play, and my composing career all complement each other. Triple Play brings me back to my blues,jazz, and rock roots." Whatever he plays, he plays with flair, with fun and it is infectious.

The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

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