The Buried Treasures first--gad, what a find! A pristinely recorded set by the "classic" Brubeck Quartet, in their last year of existence. No signs of strain, though--still cool as James Bond's martini, the other side of the pillow, as Paul Newman in the 60s. Relaxed, unhurried swing and exquisite detail was this group's forte, which was, in part, made them so popular in the 50s & 60s. (Of course, if too many people like you, you arouse the ire of some critics, as Brubeck did--he sold lots of records.
But--how well-known this factoid is, I know not--but Brubeck & Desmond were an influence on one of jazz's most cutting-edge composers/players: Anthony Braxton. Braxton even recorded with Brubeck in mid-70s, for Atlantic.) The group plays a fairly standard set: some chestnuts ("standards") like "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "St. Louis Blues" and Brubeck classics: the hit "Take Five" and a sublimely hypnotic "Koto Song." The playing, needless to say, is impeccable. Desmond will meld your mind into his with his tart, floating alto that virtually defines "cool" (any interpretation you'd care to give that word), and Brubeck rivals Bill Evans as the pianist balancing the cerebral and the swing. And his tunes are just that--songs, never mere blowing vehicles. The band gets to stretch out a bit on "Forty Days," where Brubeck subtly shines. Wright and Morello are subdued yet buoyant. Elegant and thoughtful, yet engaging and rhythmic.
Brubeck fans will be overjoyed with this--and this should be "required" listening for younger jazz listeners/players who might otherwise snub a "figure" who is white and sold lots of records to their parents & grandparents. Get it? Get it!