2 LP on 1 CD
## 1 -9 "Gone With The Wind', Columbia, 1959 (3*)
This dynamic quartet, strongly influential during the cool jazz period, performed as a group from 1951 to 1967. Since the 1930s, leader Dave Brubeck received high praise and critical acclaim for his role as bandleader and for his stirring arrangements. At the piano, Brubeck plays along with the accompaniment of Paul Desmond, another timeless jazz legend in his own right. Joe Morello drives the rhythm of the group on drums and percussion with the help of Gene Wright, who shares his talent and pulsating beats on standup bass. Desmond is featured on this collection of standards, jamming along on the alto sax to tunes such as "Swanee River," "That Lonesome Road," and "Basin Street Blues." Brubeck shimmers with radiance and phenomenal craftiness in his piano improvisation at the end of "Georgia on My Mind." Morello gives it his creative all with a rich flair for rhythm during his strong solo performance on the tune "Short'nin' Bread." It is here that a superb call-and-response exchange between Morello's drums and Brubeck's piano is rendered. The song "Camptown Races" is featured here in two takes. Its mood and rhythmic power is intense and uplifting, pulling the listener into its dreamy percussive web. One can almost feel the crowd of thousands cheering a group of racehorses making their way around the turn to a photo finish.
The album as a whole is filled with wonderful surprises and contains some of the best that the cool jazz style has to offer. It is written in the record notes that the foursome believed this would be a special session from the very first take. The group played several of these tunes for the first time in the studio, working out the final product spontaneously. This recording is masterful in scope and very stimulating in style and detail. The percussion of Morello and the bass playing of Wright are quite colorful and filled with texture and majestic rhythmic quality. Desmond's lead on the alto sax is compelling and passionate, filled with joyous melodies that would be perfect for a romantic date. His ability to surf up, down, and through scale passages with a sense of effortlessness is certainly full proof as to why he is regarded with such high esteem within the entire spectrum of jazz. Dave Brubeck's proficiency resonates throughout the record as he shows off his classically trained ear. Brubeck is one of the few pianists who, during his day, clearly avoided standard bop melodic conceptions and rhythmic feeling, and played within a unique style very much his own. Gone With the Wind is strongly recommended not only for the seasoned jazz fan, but also for first-time listeners who wish to be thoroughly captivated.
-Shawn Haney (All Music Guide)
## 10-16 "Time Out", Columbia/Legacy, 1959 (5*)
Dave Brubeck's defining masterpiece, Time Out is one of the most rhythmically innovative albums in jazz history, the first to consciously explore time signatures outside of the standard 4/4 beat or 3/4 waltz time. It was a risky move - Brubeck's record company wasn't keen on releasing such an arty project, and many critics initially roasted him for tampering with jazz's rhythmic foundation. But for once, public taste was more advanced than that of the critics. Buoyed by a hit single in altoist Paul Desmond's ubiquitous "Take Five," Time Out became an unexpectedly huge success, and still ranks as one of the most popular jazz albums ever. That's a testament to Brubeck and Desmond's abilities as composers, because Time Out is full of challenges both subtle and overt - it's just that they're not jarring. Brubeck's classic "Blue Rondo a la Turk" blends jazz with classical form and Turkish folk rhythms, while "Take Five," despite its overexposure, really is a masterpiece; listen to how well Desmond's solo phrasing fits the 5/4 meter, and how much Joe Morello's drum solo bends time without getting lost. The other selections are richly melodic as well, and even when the meters are even, the group sets up shifting polyrhythmic counterpoints that nod to African and Eastern musics. Some have come to disdain Time Out as it's become increasingly synonymous with upscale coffeehouse ambience, but as someone once said of Shakespeare, it's really very good in spite of the people who like it. It doesn't just sound sophisticated - it really is sophisticated music, which lends itself to cerebral appreciation, yet never stops swinging. Countless other musicians built on its pioneering experiments, yet it's amazingly accessible for all its advanced thinking, a rare feat in any art form. This belongs in even the most rudimentary jazz collection.
-Steve Huey (All Music Guide)