THE BRUBECK BROTHERS — Timeline (review)

THE BRUBECK BROTHERS — Timeline album cover Album · 2018 · Post Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
If you have been into jazz for a long time, then you probably recall Dave Brubeck’s kids, Chris and Dan, joining with their dad on several musical endeavors and introducing Dave to staples of the hippie generation such as electronic instruments, long hair, and who knows what else. A lot of time has passed since then and Chris and Dan long ago developed their own musical personalities that stand apart from their famous father. On their recent release, “Timeline”, the brothers re-visit their father’s legacy as they pay tribute to the 60th anniversary of Dave’s famous cross-cultural trip (with Dizzy, Satch, Duke etc), on behalf of the US government, to Russia and the Middle East. Many of the tracks on “Timeline” were performed by Dave on the tour, while other tunes on here were one’s he wrote while being inspired by the music of the different countries he was visiting. To their credit, the brothers do not merely copy their father’s work, but instead update the music with new modern arrangements.

The album opens with the familiar rhythms of the classic “Blue Rondo a la Turk”, which Dan plays on the doumbek, quite possibly the Middle Eastern street instrument that inspired Dave’s original creation in 9/8 time. From here the Brubeck brothers and their talented co-stars, Mike DeMicco on guitar and Chuck Lamb on piano, move through an energetic array of hard bop, post bop and Latin jazz songs, plus a couple of ballads too. On the ballads, Chris sets aside his bass to display his smooth mellow melodic tone on the trombone. This combo is a talented foursome, but for my money, the main scene stealer is pianist Chuck Lamb who’s rhythmically intense solos give the songs a charging inertia, plus his imaginative originals, “Boundward Home” and “Prime Directive”, are two of the best tracks on the album. Another top cut on is Dave’s “Tritonis”, which has a spiraling atypical chord progression, almost psychedelic in its twisting turning patterns.

This is an excellent tribute to Dave’s musical journey long ago, and there is not a speck of nostalgia or resting on one’s past laurels to be found here. All of this music is fresh and energetic and played with vital rhythms drawn from many cultures.
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