JazzTimes (6/03, pp.121-2) - "...Pure, incisive fun....Their banter is like the music itself: freeform, unscripted, spontaneous and imaginative, yet incredibly tight..."
Personnel: Marian McPartland, Dave Brubeck (piano).
Recorded on March 23, 1984. Includes liner notes by Robert L. Doerschuk.
This part of The Jazz Alliance Piano Jazz series.
Audio Mixer: Bill Sexton.
Liner Note Authors: Robert L. Doerschuk; Phil Sheridan.
Recording information: 03/23/1984.
Photographers: Diana Robinson; Barbara Bordnick; Gary Gunderson.
Dave Brubeck and Marian McPartland became good friends back in the 1950s, so it was no surprise that he was one of her guests in the early years of her long running radio program. Unlike many of her guests, Brubeck doesn't keep the solo spotlight on himself in the early part of the show, preferring to have his hostess join him for delightful duets of standards like "St. Louis Blues" (a long time favorite concert opener for Brubeck) and often recorded Brubeck masterpieces such as "The Duke" and "In Your Own Sweet Way"; Brubeck's Chopin-influenced "Thank You (Dziekuje)" deserves to be as well known. Marian solos on another lovely Brubeck ballad, "Summer Song." Brubeck was joking about a lack of confidence in playing alone when the tapes weren't rolling, so it is hilarious to hear McPartland comment to Brubeck at the end of their rousing finale of "Take Five," "What do you mean no chops?" to her guest's laughter. Needless to say, they complement one another's playing very well on all of their duets, including the adventurous improvised "Free Piece." Although a total of 32 editions of Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz were issued on compact disc between 1993 and 1996, this is the only release that features a track not included in the original broadcast on National Public Radio. At Brubeck's insistence, the original session tapes were located and a brief version of his "Polytonal Blues," which was originally recorded for a Concord LP as "Polly," was added; this wild performance is typical Brubeck, who picked up the pace of recording solo tracks in the years following this taping. This is one of the most enjoyable editions of Piano Jazz made commercially available so far, and unless Concord is willing to resume releasing additional great programs from this series (which began airing in 1979), collectors will have to make due taping and trading copies of the broadcasts. ~ Ken Dryden
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