Hommage À / Tribute To Dave Brubeck
The Music of Dave Brubeck
The Music of Dave Brubeck
Rémi Bolduc – alto saxophone
François Bourassa – piano
Fraser Hollins – bass
Dave Laing – drums
Arranged By – Rémi Bolduc
Art Direction – Rémi Bolduc
Graphics [Design] – Pascal Milette
Mastered By – George Doxas
Mixed By – George Doxas
Photography – Pascal Milette
Photography [Rémi Bolduc] – Maxime Tremblay
Producer – Les Productions Art And Soul, Rémi Bolduc
Recorded At – Doxas Studio
Recorded By – George Doxas
Label: ℗ Les Productions Art And Soul & Rémi Bolduc, 2015.
The name Dave Brubeck, legendary jazzman who died in 2012, needs no introduction. This pianist has influenced several younger generations of pianists and composers around the world. For his eighth album, saxophonist Rémi Bolduc has chosen to pay tribute to this great who was among the pioneers of unusual ciphers.
For this tribute, Rémi Bolduc surrounded himself with some of Quebec’s jazz greats: François Bourassa (piano), Fraser Hollins (double bass) and Dave Laing (drums). All the elements were in place to recreate, in 2015, the energy of the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
The album kicks off with the classic Rondo à la Turk, from the album Time Out. A version quite faithful to the original is heard, with sounds very close to the 1959 recording, but with today’s sound quality. The resemblance is uncanny; even listening to the two versions one after the other, the differences are generally quite minimal. A few other pieces, but not all, remain very close to the original energy, such as Everybody’s Jumpin’ or Three to Get Ready.
On Far More Blue, Rémi Bolduc takes up more space than in the original version, even giving the melody a bluesier touch than on the Dave Brubeck Quartet version. The solos are also particularly convincing here, especially François Bourassa’s. All in all, a fine, revitalized version of the 1961 composition. On Charles Matthew Hallelujah, Rémi Bolduc offers us an extended version of the piece (almost double the length!), with one explosive solo after another. All four musicians have their moment of glory, but the dizzying solo by the Montreal saxophonist deserves a special listen.
Bluette is already a fine Brubeck composition; the Rémi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble’s version is all the more soothing, except during the sax solo, which is a little shaky. A hushed piece like this would have revealed all the sonic imperfections of the original recording. This time, we’re treated to something impeccable and so much more pleasing to the ear.
No tribute to Dave Brubeck is complete without the iconic Take Five, composed by the Quartet’s saxophonist Paul Desmond. This piece has been covered so many times that it’s always a challenge to offer an original version. Rémi Bolduc and his musicians have attempted a slightly lengthened version, notably with the addition of a semi-ambient introduction. While most of the other versions offered by the ensemble are quite convincing, this is perhaps less the case with Take Five, although there are several good ideas in this two-minute-long version. Dave Laing’s solo is one of the highlights.
We’re also treated to a more energetic version of In Your Own Sweet Way, retaining the gentle piano solo opening. Rémi Bolduc’s version of The Duke (a tribute to pianist Duke Ellington) is also very lively, without overdoing it.
The last track on the album is something of an exception: it’s the only one that isn’t a composition by Dave Brubeck or a member of his band. The standard All the Things You Are, composed by Jerome Kern, was notably covered by Brubeck in 1952 in an energetic but melodic version. As with Take Five, Rémi Bolduc tries to make his own version. The result is interesting, but not exactly catchy. Perhaps another piece would have been more appropriate to have the last word on Hommage à Dave Brubeck.
Remember, the four musicians who recorded the album are old hands who know exactly what they’re doing. The technique on the album is beyond reproach, and some of the covers confirm that the quartet have taken the time to absorb the energy of Dave Brubeck and his musicians. Most of the versions on offer here are as, if not more, interesting than the originals, with the added bonus of far superior recording quality. A great opportunity to rediscover Brubeck, with the slightly different perspective offered by the Rémi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble.” ~ by Olivier Dénommée (translated from french)