Dave Brubeck: 40th Anniversary Tour of the U.K.Telarc/Music Gallery, CD, Rs. 575The legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck became famous in the '50s for his unconventional time signatures such as five beats to a bar and for his "cool" style. This album is distilled from a largely successful attempt at recreating the magic of a triumphal British tour in 1958, without in any way repeating the same fare.Now just short of 78, Brubeck was without his original three colleagues, but the breach was well filled by Bobby Militello on alto saxophone, Randy Jones, by this time Brubeck's regular drummer, and Alec Dankworth (worthy scion of British jazz's first family), on bass. Militello has the difficult task of stepping into the shoes of the legendary Paul Desmond. He does so with as melodious and warm a tone but with a feeling of power that sets him apart from Desmond's soft and gentle style.Several numbers were newly composed by Brubeck for the anniversary tour, including the haunting "Goodbye Old Friend" (played solo by him) in memory of Gerry Mulligan and "The Salmon Strikes", a fast-paced whimsical piece on which all four musicians contribute exciting solos. Others are taken from the jazz canon, including the fastish "I Got Rhythm" and "Some Day My Prince Will Come", performed rather fast for a ballad after a slow intro on piano. Most numbers have a contemplative piano solo intro before the themes are taken by Brubeck, Militello or both, who also share the bulk of the solo improvisations.Brubeck fans might feel the absence of Desmond's hit composition "Take Five" on the album. The omission is probably deliberate since this wasn't a pure nostalgia trip and Militello had to establish his distinctness.Ray Brown Trio: Some of My Best Friends Are GuitaristsTelarc/Music Gallery, CD, Rs. 575This recording from 2000 is another in the series of albums on which the incomparable Ray Brown (1926-2002) has several exponents of one instrument as guest stars. The six guitarists here play on two tracks each with the Brown trio: Brown on bass, Geoff Keezer on piano and Karriem Riggins on drums.The guitarists take the theme on every track and of course contribute strong solo improvisations too, for which they mostly share honours with Keezer. Keezer and the guitarists also feature on solo intros on most of the tracks. Brown's role looks deceptively limited to support but in fact the careful listener and jazz fan can discern the old warhorse working quietly but furiously behind the guitarists and Keezer, generally providing independent improvisations in counterpoint to them.The opening track, Duke Ellington's "Just Squeeze Me" (confused by the liner notes with Fats Waller's "Squeeze Me") is played at medium tempo with John Pizzarelli on guitar and features some interesting solo exchanges, first between him and Brown and then him and Keezer.Two numbers with Kenny Burrell on guitar, the fastish "Fly Me to the Moon" and the evocative "Soulful Spirit", are also notable. Russell Malone is the guitarist on "Heartstrings", which has striking changes of tempo from a slow intro to a fast theme and guitar solo, then back to slow at the end. On the slowish "Li'l Darlin'" Malone turns in a long and dazzling solo. Brown steps into the solo spotlight for a change on "Blues for Junior" with his old colleague Herb Ellis. All in all, Brown's trio and his "friends" maintain a high standard right through.JAZZEBEL

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