The Crossing

by: Dave Brubeck Quartet

Although just shy of 80 at the time of the two studio sessions which make up this CD, Dave Brubeck still has the drive that he had some 40 years earlier, both as a performer and composer. Longtime drummer Randy Jones, veteran alto saxophonist Bobby Militello, and the talented young bassist Alec Dankworth all shine in support of the tireless pianist. All nine compositions appear on disc for the first time, starting with "The Crossing," Brubeck's lively musical vision of a passenger ship getting underway for a long trip across the ocean, though a ship's engines would burn out if they kept up with the intensity of this piece. During "Day After Day," Bobby Militello brings to mind the late Paul Desmond with his soft lyrical solo, though he has a sound all his own. "Mariel" continues Brubeck's tradition of writing songs for his family members; this lovely ballad, dedicated to his fourth grandchild, starts with a lush piano solo before suddenly intensifying into an up-tempo cooker. "All My Love," a warm ballad dedicated to Brubeck's wife, Iola, speaks softly of his love for her without requiring words. "Por Que No? (So Why Not?)" is a catchy Latin-flavored piece that ought to get an audience up and dancing when played during a Brubeck concert. "Chasin' Yourself" is highlighted by Militello's turbulent solo, while "Bessie" is a gorgeous melody dedicated to Brubeck's mother, who inspired his musical career. "Randy Jones" showcases the drummer in a well-deserved tribute to Brubeck's sideman of over 20 years. The finale, "Hold Fast to Dreams," was originally conceived as a part of a suite which set Langston Hughes' poems to music. Overall, this is yet another memorable release by Dave Brubeck. ~ Ken Dryden

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