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So What's New?

So What's New? - Album cover

Label: Telarc
Year: 1998
Released on LP: No
Released on CD: Yes


1. It's Deja Vu All Over Again
2. Fourth Of July
3. The Things You Will Never Remember
4. Marian McPartland
5. Brotherly Love
6. I'm Still In Love With A Girl Named Oli
7. Her Name Is Nancy
8. Chorale
9. Sahra
10. Waltzing
11. Five For Ten Small Fingers


Dave Brubeck (piano)
Bobby Militello (alto sax, flute)
Jack Six (bass)
Randy Jones (drums)


Concord Music Group - Copyright

The indomitable Dave Brubeck isn't resting on his considerable laurels—he's reinventing himself in this exciting album of eleven new compositions, Dave hearkens back to his style of the '50s, reinterpreted for today.

So What's New? is proof of the pianist/composer’s unflagging creativity. For decades, Brubeck has been turning out a stream of jazz compositions and large scale works for chorus and orchestra. The ever-expanding body of work shows him to be one of the most vital American composers ever.

What’s new? How about 12 never-before-recorded compositions, several written just for this recording. Brubeck’s quartet turns in inspired interpretations and terrific solos, especially by alto sax player Bobby Militello and the pianist/composer himself.

There are a brilliant variety of tunes that reflect many facets of Brubeck’s musical interests. “Chorale” comes from Dave’s admiration of J.S. Bach and is adapted from part of his “Chromatic Fantasy.” “Fourth of July” is a study in fourths and makes a great jazz tune, while “Her Name is Nancy,” a harmonically and rhythmically complex tune, is hard to play but easy on the ears. “Marian McPartland,” a tribute to the esteemed pianist/educator, has a bounce and catchy melody which stays with you. There are countless treats on this CD.

There is always something to look forward to from the indefatigable Dave Brubeck, still going strong and influencing the music he has helped shape.

All Music Guide – Review – copyright

At 77, Dave Brubeck continued to pour forth new music at a clip that was extraordinary even for him. Whether any of it will last or stand up to the famous Brubeck numbers of the past, though, is something to ponder when you sample this quartet session. An all-Brubeck program of never-recorded new pieces (although the piece entitled "Marian McPartland" beat the McPartland/Brubeck duo version by only a couple of months), So What's New finds Brubeck in a friskier mood than in his previous, somewhat autumnal Telarcs, even willing to take us back to the bombs-away block-chorded Brubeck of the '50s and '60s on "It's Deja-Vu All Over Again."

As an improvising pianist, he continues to be on his toes, sometimes falling back upon patented devices like those wide-screen moving tremolos, yet always finding interesting paths to develop. Yet while the Brubeck composition style and taste are felt throughout, very few of his themes or conceptions stay in the mind; the McPartland tune and another fine jazz waltz, "Waltzing," are notable exceptions.

Bobby Militello's alto work is, as a whole, fairly generic, although he has some thrusting, aggressive moments, and Jack Six and Randy Jones continue to build a solid rhythmic foundation. Though not his best, So What's New is ample testimony to Brubeck's vitality in his Indian summer.

Richard S. Ginell

© Copyright Rovi Corporation

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