[JPL] Brubeck & Lewis, Together in the Spirit of Jazz

Dr. Jazz drjazz at drjazz.com
Wed Apr 16 13:17:28 EDT 2008

*Brubeck & Lewis, Together in the Spirit of Jazz*

Wednesday, April 16, 2008; C02

No, pianists Dave Brubeck 
and Ramsey Lewis didn't share the stage at the Kennedy Center 
on Sunday night. Yet there were times during their back-to-back 
performances in the Concert Hall when the celebrated jazz elders seemed 
to be on the same musical wavelength, especially when the focus was on 
chamber jazz-like orchestrations that quietly emphasized bowed bass and 
muted percussion.

While there wasn't a noticeable spring in his step when the 87-year-old 
Brubeck walked onstage, his performances didn't lack vitality or 
swagger. He helped propel the vintage pop tune "Margie," for example, 
with a pumping left hand, and often engaged in playful thrusts and 
parries with his quartet mates during a multihued program that included 
"Theme for June," "Over the Rainbow," "These Foolish Things (Remind Me 
of You)" and, inevitably, "Take Five." While Bobby Militello, on alto 
sax and flute, briefly evoked the sound of Paul Desmond, the late 
reedman, composer and Brubeck band mate, there was nothing nostalgic 
about Militello's fluid, bop-rooted improvisations or the quartet's 
delightful brand of interplay, crisply underscored by bassist Michael 
and drummer Randy Jones.

Lewis, who arrived with compositions so new they had yet to acquire 
titles, bracketed his trio's performance with two surefire 
crowd-pleasers: "Wade in the Water," ringing with gospel chords, and a 
freewheeling take on "The In Crowd." The hits were punctuated by 
evocative dance-inspired pieces -- the pianist recently collaborated 
with the Joffrey Ballet 
-- and a rousing spiritual medley, enhanced by bassist Larry Gray and 
drummer Leon Joyce Jr.

*-- Mike Joyce 

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