The 1987 edition of the Brubeck Quartet featured pianist Brubeck, his son Chris on electric bass and bass trombone, clarinetist Bill Smith and drummer Randy Jones. In addition to remakes of "Blue Rondo à la Turk," "Strange Meadowlark" and "Swing Bells," the leader contributed six new originals including "I See, Satie" and a tribute to Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz called "Dizzy's Dream." Bill Smith, who uses electronics with taste on his clarinet during a few songs, has long been a major asset to the later Brubeck Quartets. This is one of their better Concord CDs.
For this entry in Dave Brubeck's series of Time albums, his Quartet with altoist Paul Desmond performs "Elementals" with an orchestra and plays five briefer originals including four that have unusual time signatures; "World's Fair" is in 13/4 time.
Out of the 13 selections included on this double CD, six were originally released just in Europe, two ("Out of Nowhere" and "Mexican Jumping Bean") were never out before and only five songs were on the American LP. Considering how inspired the Dave Brubeck Quartet sounds, it is surprising that the music has been so obscure for so long. Baritonist Gerry Mulligan is particularly heated on the opening two numbers (the unreleased tracks), pianist Dave Brubeck really stretches himself (check him out on "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" where he progresses from stride to free), and bassist Jack Six and drummer Alan Dawson, in addition to their solo space, are quite alert and constantly pushing the lead voices. Not only are the musicians in top form but the audience is very enthusiastic, demanding three encores. The extensive liner notes by Geoffrey Smith are also a major plus. Highly recommended.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet - The Columbia Studio Albums Collection features each of the 19 albums in a replica mini-LP sleeve which reproduces that LP's original front and back cover artwork. Where applicable, the albums in each box include the bonus tracks that have been released on the expanded CD editions over the years. As noted above, nine of the titles in The Dave Brubeck Quartet - The Columbia Studio Albums Collection are making their debut appearance on CD in the U.S. with this box set.