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Bennett/Brubeck. The White House Sessions, Live 1962.

Bennett/Brubeck. The White House Sessions, Live 1962. - CD cover

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Bennett/Brubeck. The White House Sessions, Live 1962. - White House 1962White House 1962

Label: Sony Legacy
Year: 1962
Released on LP: No
Released on CD: Yes


The Dave Brubeck Quartet

1. Introduction: William B. Williams
2. Take Five
3. Band introduction
4. Nomad
5. Thank You (Dziekuje)
6. Castilian Blues

Tony Bennett

With Ralph Sharon, piano; Hal Gaylord, bass; Billy Exner, drums.

7. Introduction: William B. Williams
8. Just In Time
9. Small World
10. Make Someone Happy
11. Rags to Riches
12. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
13. (I Left My Heart In) San Francisco

Tony Bennett with the Dave Brubeck Trio

14. Lullaby of Broadway
15. Chicago
16.That Old Black Magic
17.There Will Never Be Another You


Dave Brubeck (piano)
Paul Desmond (alto sax)
Joe Morello (drums)
Eugene Wright (bass)
Tony Bennett (vocals)


Track 16, "That Old Black Magic" appeared on the 1970, Columbia release, "Summit Sessions".

CBC Music website

It was a night that a group of summer interns at the White House would never forget. On Aug. 28, 1962, two of jazz’s biggest titans, Tony Bennett and Dave Brubeck, performed as a thank you from President John F. Kennedy to the students.

The two performed separately with their own ensembles, then joined forces for an impromptu set. For decades, the only known recording from that magical matchup was That Old Black Magic. But then, just a few weeks after Brubeck’s death on Dec. 5, 2012, the rest of the recording surfaced in a Sony Music vault.

At the time of the concert, both Brubeck and Bennett were at the height of their careers. Bennett had entered the Billboard charts with his hit “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and Brubeck’s “Take Five” had become an instant jazz classic.

And it wasn’t as if the two masters were regular collaborators. In fact, they wouldn’t share the stage again until 47 years later, at the Newport Jazz Festival in 2009 where they once again performed “That Old Black Magic.”

"Both had arrived at stardom, but were seemingly stars from different galaxies. Yet these two beloved musicians also had much in common,” says jazz historian Ted Gioia in the liner notes. He points out that both men served in the Second World War and participated in the Battle of the Bulge, as well as having been active in the Civil Rights movement. (Brubeck cancelled 23 concerts rather than replace his black bassist, Eugene Wright, and Bennett marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Montgomery, Ala.)

Gioia continues:

“But these two artists were musically simpatico as well. They shared a devotion to the great American songbook, and knew how to straddle the worlds of jazz and popular music without compromises or crass commercialism, yet still reach millions of people, many of whom would never step inside a jazz club or read a copy of Down Beat.

"So what a blessing to have these tracks from the past, a true meeting of musical masters, come to us more than a half-century after they were made, but still sounding as fresh and alive as they did to those present back in 1962. And after hiding out in a dark archive for so many decades, the music of two of the best and brightest to ever interpret the American popular song is shining for us once more."


All Music Guide

Since both were performing their own sets at the White House Seminar American Jazz Concert on the Sylvan Theater grounds on August 28, 1962, Tony Bennett and Dave Brubeck decided to perform an impromptu collaborative set together that day, and although one song from it was eventually released, a version of "That Old Black Magic," the rest of the hour-or-so-long tape ended up lost in the vast Sony catalog vault, filed, as it turned out, with several classical tapes, until it surfaced again shortly after Brubeck's death in 2012.

Now finally available, it reveals two master performers at the very top of their respective games. Bennett's signature song, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," had been released only a couple of weeks before the concert, while Brubeck's "Take Five" had just begun to take on its iconic significance. Brubeck and his quartet, Paul Desmond on alto sax, Eugene Wright on bass, and Joe Morello on drums, played a four-song set, followed by a six-song set from Bennett and his band, with Ralph Sharon on piano, Hal Gaylor on bass, and Billy Exiner on drums. Then came an unrehearsed and impromptu four-song set from Bennett and Brubeck, with Wright on bass and Morello on drums (alto saxophonist Desmond sat out) that included versions of "That Old Black Magic" (the only track previously released before this), "Lullaby of Broadway," "Chicago (That Toddlin' Town)," and "There Will Never Be Another You," each of which purveys a loose, fun elegance that makes this archival find a true treasure. Bennett and Brubeck would not perform together again until both appeared and briefly reunited on-stage at the 2009 Newport Jazz Festival.

Steve Leggett

©2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved

The Guardian UK - copyright

This is is a long-lost piece of jazz mythology, wrongly labelled in the vaults and only unearthed by Columbia last winter. It was recorded live at a White House concert by Brubeck and Bennett in August 1962, when the mainstream impact of Take Five was still fresh, and Bennett had just released his famous signature song I Left My Heart in San Francisco. Bennett jams with Brubeck on four unrehearsed songs, while five others feature the singer with his own trio, and the first half-hour showcases the Brubeck quartet, notably on a thrillingly fast Take Five. Bennett's jazz skills weren't to be fully honed for at least another decade, when changing public tastes led him to reinvent himself with Bill Evans and others – and some listeners might therefore find the operatic, on-a-roll exuberance of his 1962 persona over the top. (A boogie version of One for My Baby feels like a rash decision.) But Brubeck's chord-blasting drive has an infectious relish on a flying There Will Never Be Another You, and Bennett and the Brubeck rhythm section elegantly shuffle together on That Old Black Magic. The four Brubeck Quartet tracks are the real treasures, though, with the leader's rippling Chopin diversions on Thank You (Dziekuje) and the Latin-inflected 5/4-time Castilian Blues showing just why this group took the jazz world by storm.

John Fordham 30th May 2013

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