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Park Avenue South

Park Avenue South  - Album cover

Label: Telarc
Year: 2003
Released on LP: No
Released on CD: Yes


1. On the Sunny Side of the Street
2. Love for Sale
3. Elegy
4. Don't Forget Me
5. Love Is Just Around the Corner
6. On a Slow Boat to China
7. I Love Vienna
8. Crescent City Stomp
9. Take Five
10. Show Me the Way to Go Home


Dave Brubeck (piano)
Bobby Militello (alto sax, flute)
Randy Jones (drums)
Michael Moore (bass)


1. Recorded live at Starbucks Coffeehouse, Park Avenue, Manhattan, New York City in July 2002.


All About Jazz Review

Dave Brubeck, in his 80s, maintains the energy, zeal and good humor that have characterized his work for more than 50 years. He is on the road in a schedule that would tire a person of any age, but on this CD it is apparent that time-3/4, 4/4 and 5/4-is on his side. Park Avenue South comes from two nights of recording before audiences at a Starbucks coffee house in Manhattan. We don't know whether Brubeck used his frequent tactic of stimulating his colleagues by launching into standards they don't expect, but freshness and spontaneity of surprise nonetheless saturate "On the Sunny Side of the Street," "Love Is Just Around the Corner," "On a Slow Boat to China" and "Show Me the Way to Go Home."

Bobby Militello, whom subtlety rarely visits, is engagingly boisterous in his alto saxophone solos, but the restraint of his flute work is notable as he blends with Michael Moore's arco bass on "Elegy," a new Brubeck piece of lyrical sadness. Moore has splendid solos on "Elegy," "Love for Sale" and "Don't Forget Me," a recent Brubeck composition in three-quarter time. In their power and elegance as a rhythm team, Moore and drummer Randy Jones provide stability during Brubeck's spikiest solo adventures.

When critics attacked the pianist for heavy-handedness in the days of the classic Brubeck quartet, Paul Desmond's defenses of his partner included praise for his skill as an accompanist. There's a convincing demonstration of that ability in Brubeck's comping behind Militello on "I Love Vienna," a waltz (what else?) with a sparkling Brubeck solo. Jones' modified parade beat supports "Crescent City Stomp," another municipal tribute. The piece's melodic and harmonic complexity over basic rhythms makes it a rarified take on New Orleans. The CD has yet another version of Desmond's "Take Five" as a feature for Jones, whose solo keeps it fresh. Freshness is Brubeck's stock in trade as he progresses through his ninth decade.

Doug Ramsey

Copyright All About Jazz

All Music Guide Review copyright

This live CD by the Dave Brubeck Quartet comes from a pair of after-midnight performances in a Manhattan Starbuck's. The musicians seem very stimulated by the odd surroundings, producing an enticing mix of standards, new Brubeck compositions, and the inevitable "Take Five." The jaunty opener, "On the Sunny Side of the Street," gives way to a burning take of "Love for Sale," featuring Bobby Militello's soulful sax. Brubeck wrote the mournful "Elegy" for Norwegian journalist Randi Hultin, who died of cancer before she was able to hear it.

The combination of Militello's haunting flute, Michael Moore's matchless arco bass, Randy Jones' soft use of mallets, and the leader's understated piano is powerful enough to hush any audience. The brisk jazz waltz "Don't Forget Me" was inspired by a closing remark over the phone from an old friend, causing Brubeck to immediately sit down and compose the piece on the spot. "I Love Vienna," a jazz waltz taken at a faster clip, shows the influence of Strauss. Although "New Orleans Stomp" is initially powered by a common drum riff heard all over the Crescent City, the main theme is hardly within the "cool" pigeonhole to which many ill-informed critics readily assign Brubeck; this demanding piece is better described as post-bop.

"Take Five" has long been a solo feature for Jones (who began continuously working with Brubeck over 22 years earlier, longer than any Brubeck alumni), and he doesn't disappoint the crowd in this fairly brief rendition. In case anyone had ideas of bringing the group back for yet another encore, Brubeck makes his thoughts clear with a playful romp through the chestnut "Show Me the Way to Go Home." Brubeck's excellent liner notes and the numerous photos from the concerts add to the value of this highly recommended CD.

Ken Dryden

Copyright Rovi Corporation

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