March 18, 2008

The Brubeck Brothers Quartet has produced an absorbing and evocative collection of jazz compositions that also provide a fascinating inside glimpse into the rapidly evolving genre of music known as classical crossover. Once written off as a repository for ill-fated ventures into the commercial music sphere attempted by famous practitioners of the classical music tradition, this category finds itself happily being hijacked by a new brand of open-eared musicians eager to break through the supposed boundaries of musical style.

The bulk of the recording features the quartet performing brilliantly conceived original works allowing for a healthy amount of improvisation and interplay -- jazz in its most exalted state. The centerpiece is Chris Brubeck's ingenious composition, "Vignettes for Nonet", featuring the Imani Winds. In this piece the listener enters into a dreamscape of the composer's making in which the classically trained wind quintet sits down with the Brubeck Brothers Quartet to partake in a veritable musical feast.

The composer is no stranger to such excursions, having written extensively for all sorts of situations, including a large body of jazz-inspired work contributed to symphonic literature. He thus furthers the groundbreaking seminal work in this musical arena made by his illustrious father, whose classic "Blue Rondo a la Turk" fittingly plays the role of cornerstone and conclusion to a vibrant recording that has all the earmarks of becoming a classic of the genre.
David Balakrishnan, Turtle Island Quartet, March, 2008

PERSONNEL: Chris Brubeck (bass and trombone); Dan Brubeck (drums); Mike DeMicco (guitar); Chuck Lamb (piano) AND SPECIAL GUESTS: Imani Winds: Valerie Coleman (flute); Monica Ellis (bassoon); Toyin Spellman-Diaz (oboe); Mariam Adam (clarinet); Jeff Scott (French horn)

1. Good Question (Mike DeMicco)
2. Cool on the Coast (Chuck Lamb)
3. Eclipse (Mike DeMicco)
4. Dance of the Shadows (Chris & Dan Brubeck)
5. Heyoke (Chuck Lamb)
6. Vignettes for Nonet: Curious Expedition (Chris Brubeck)
7. Vignettes for Nonet: Dunes at Dawn, Dromadaire Extraordinaire (Chris Brubeck)
8. Vignettes for Nonet: Tales of the Bazaar(Chris Brubeck)
9. Blue Rondo a la Turk (Dave Brubeck)


"Classified" is a superbly played affair, heavy on ballads and blues, that picks up where the group’s 2006 "Intuition" left off. (JazzTimes, Oct. 2008)

Once again the BBQ attains that rarefied level where music is both relaxed and expressive, and their joy in its creation is contagious. There's really nothing out there that comes close to their unique brand of inventiveness. (Dr. Judith Schlesinger, All About Jazz)