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Brubeck Brothers Quartet: TimeLine
2018: Blue Forest Records

Chris Brubeck on Electric Bass, Bass Trombone
Dan Brubeck on Drums, Hand Drums, Percussion
Mike DeMicco on Guitar
Chuck Lamb on Piano


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 9, 2018

This CD is a sixtieth anniversary tribute to Dave Brubeck’s 1958 State Department tour as an official US jazz ambassador to fourteen countries, during the Cold War. Brubeck’s sons, Chris Brubeck, who plays electric bass and bass trombone, and Dan Brubeck, who plays drums and percussion, have recorded this extraordinary album with their band, including Mike DeMicco on guitar and Chuck Lamb on piano. With eleven masterful tracks, the Brubeck Brothers Quartet revisits seven of Dave Brubeck’s tunes from that historical tour, as well as compositions by Chris, Chuck, and Mike. The new works by Chuck Lamb, “Boundward Home” and “Prime Directive” are orchestrally layered, and in the case of the second work, filled with rolling and ebullient keyboard refrains, with fragmented bits of guitar, drums, and bass trombone. Mike DeMicco’s “North Coast” is an expansive and fervent duet for his guitar and Chuck’s piano, backed by drums and bass. The music of Dave Brubeck has been in my life since college, and you can read a 2003 review of Dave Brubeck’s quartet here, while you can read a 2009 review of Dave Brubeck’s Brazilian jazz concert here.

Notable tracks:

#1 – Blue Rondo à la Turk – Composed by Dave Brubeck. This introductory track opens with the renowned tune that was inspired by the multicultural music Brubeck heard while on his international tour, and the haunting tones in Istanbul are evoked in the title. On this band’s unique arrangement, percussive bursts tease the familiar refrains throughout the track, until the theme comes together joyously in the finale. There are multiple showcases for piano and drums and a magnetic duet for guitar and bass that, together, highlight the seasoned mastery of this quartet.

#3 – Easy As You Go – Composed by Dave Brubeck. Brubeck composed this tune for a Louis Armstrong musical, “The Real Ambassadors”, and, on this album, Chris Brubeck’s trombone takes on the tones of the vocalist, originally Carmen McRae. The lush, languorous melody must be listened to multiple times with Chris Brubeck’s soothing, yearning emotionality and reverence for his father’s deep concern for the plight of African Americans in the late 1950’s. On this smooth track, Dan Brubeck’s soft brushes enhance the musicality.

#8 – 3 Wise Men – Composed by Chris Brubeck. Elongated tones on Chris Brubeck’s electric bass are featured throughout his original tune, evoking, as noted, “deserts and caravans”, his musical imagery of his father’s travels. The soulfulness of the earthy, languid bass transports the listener across the globe. A rambunctious duet for Mike’s guitar and Dan’s drums adds a central contrast to the ever present bass pulse. The lovely and lively theme is carried by Chuck on piano.

#11 – Thank You (Dziekuje) – Composed by Dave Brubeck. During Brubeck’s 1958 tour, he visited Chopin’s home in Poland. He was moved emotionally to write this tune in Chopin’s honor. His sons’ quartet rearranged the intriguing theme as a bossa nova. Trombone, guitar, and piano share the lush theme, along with Latin-infused, recurrent drums. The thematic sensitivity of Brubeck’s original wonder in his journey as jazz ambassador is clearly celebrated here by the two Brubeck sons, Chuck Lamb, and Mike DeMicco.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at