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Ralph Gleason by Dave Brubeck

This DVD reproduces Dave Brubeck's appearance on Ralph Gleason's Jazz Casual show in 1961. The performance is in black and white capturing conversations with Brubeck in between songs and one interview with Gleason regarding the minutiae and timing of each composition. Brubeck explains that most jazz is in 4/4 time while his quartet ventures far beyond that and refuses to let that 'safe zone' were most jazz musicians go control their musical output. Each song has a different time signature and Brubeck does a great job explaining how that works with the instruments in each song.

The performances by each band member are extraordinary on every track. It was unfortunate that Eugene Wright stays in the background with his standup bass; I also noticed that the sound on his bass is much lower in comparison to the other instruments. The sound was also a problem when focusing on a single instrument during a solo. With the exception of Joe Morello's solos, Paul Desmond and Brubeck's moments in the spotlight need quick adjustments to the sound levels to get them were they should be. Unfortunately, it is quite noticeable and even to the untrained ear I think it would be obvious. It surprises me that with the technology available today something as minor as a sound level would blemish such a wonderful performance.

Regardless of my criticisms of the overall sound, the music is simply spectacular and a joy to witness. It is no wonder that this quartet was one of the most popular in the world and a true trailblazer for modern jazz improvisation. This helped me to realize more than ever the importance of Dave Brubeck to jazz and music as a whole. To actually see a performance and listen to Dave talk about his music has much more of an impact than listening to a CD.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Dave Brubeck
  • CD Title: Ralph Gleason
  • Genre: Cool Jazz
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Rhino
  • Tracks: Take Five (Its a) Raggy Waltz Castillian Blues Waltz Limp Blue Rondo a la Turk Total Time: 30 minutes Air Date: October 17
  • Musicians: Dave Brubeck(piano), Paul Desmond(saxophone), Eugene Wright(bass), Joe Morello(drums);
  • Rating: Five Stars
Morrice Blackwell

Owner and publisher of, Morrice Blackwell is a christian husband dad jazz fan website developing marketing manager basketball playing engineer that lives for photography.

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