on March 16, 2009
Actually, this is the 2nd re-issue of this set; it was included in the 3-CD boxed set 'Classic Album Collection' of a few months ago. But what a difference! On the afforementioned 'Collection', the 'Impressions' portion of the set (only) was plagued with considerable low-end rumble absent from the rest of the set. I was naturally disappointed, & chalked it up to the age of the master. As usual, I was wrong. My compliments to the regrettably anonymous person who re-mastered THIS version; it is SO much better, and sounds more like it would have had CBS/Sony re-issued it themselves.
Brubeck afficianados have been pining away for re-issue of this recording since Noah was a pup. Now that the Spanish have declared open season on Columbia's (& other's) masters, it WOULD be nice, though. to have some information on the outside of the package as to who's responsible for a given re-master AND the type of processing used.
As to the music, 'Ode to a Cowboy', 'Summer Song', 'Home at Last' & the bonus track 'Two Sleepy People' are standouts for me. Recommended.
on January 30, 2010
If you listen to Morello's solo in 'Sounds of the Loop', you'll hear things that you won't hear any other drummer do. I've been looking for a copy of this disc for more than forty years. It was out of print by the early sixties.
on June 28, 2009
Delighted to see this reissued as a CD at long last. The sound may not have the sparkle of the LP (I have two of these hard-to-find LPs), but having a copy without surface noise is worth it. Don't miss drummer Joe Morello featured on "Sounds of the Loop:; he uses the entire drum set to great melodic effect.
When we hear about musical impressionists, we may think about Ravel and Debussy, whose compositions always accompany documentaries about the impressionist painters, Monet, Renoir, et al. Jazz, too, has its impressionists. Duke Ellington had many a suite of compostions based on his impressions of lands of his many journies, the Far East, Latin America, Africa. Dave Brubeck likewise developed jazz sketches from his own travels to Europe, India, and Japan. He has an entire album dedicated to New York City. Here are recordings from autumn 1956 and winter 1957 whose group title suggests impressions of the United States at large. It is had hardly that formal. They are rather developed compositional sketches of a professional jazz musician while traveling across the nation from one gig to another. That said, as American composers and jazz artists, the national character emerges in their works and performances.
While "Summer Song" is a sweet and gentle popular track, "History of a Boy Scout" is wide-ranging, witty, up-tempo, and clever. "Plain Song" is perhaps the most evocative, being impressions of the Great Plains, its stretches of lonely fields, with a mechanical framework of a bus droning along the long road. "Curtain Time" presages the New York album of 1964 with its hint of a Broadway theatre orchestra. Chicago's Loop is a vehicle for drummer Joe Morello, and the urban bustle and din is conveyed with the elevated train rumbling along its tracks. "Home at Last" is indeed home, as Brubeck recorded this quiet, mellow solo at his home sanctuary. The only non-quartet composition follows: Carmichael & Loesser's piece, "Two Sleepy People." The final bonus tracks is a live Ontario concert excerpt, included for its obvious title: "Pilgrim's Progress." It is a very fine and strong performance, a dandy close. This album certainly belongs in the Brubeck fan's collection. It demonstrates the continuing creative Brubeck-Desmond jazz sound of the mid 1950s. And it never ceases to please.
on October 3, 2011
Back in '64 My buddy and I found this in his dad's album collection. It bacame a big favorite then and 47 years later it is still right up there next to Time Out for the greatest of the great Dave Brubeck recordings.
From the opening, when you're riding down the trail with the boys on horseback (listening to jazz, no less!) in "Ode to a cowboy" you hear that this is some fine Brubeck and Desmond. The swinging "Summer Song" brings Dave to the ears in the same manner that "Yonder for Two" allows Paul to stretch out with his always-tasty sax - this is definitely when the band was deeply in the groove that brought them their well-deserved world-wide fame.
The fourth track "History of a Boy Scout" is very hard to sit still to..This is some great driving drum kit action from Joe Morello and the 20 fingers of Norman Bates on the stand-up bass. The rhythm section drives this wonderful composition with Dave and Paul filling in the top.
And then there is the great "Plain Song" - It is not at all hard to picture the endless asphalt and tumbleweeds in Kansas while looking out of the windows in your black and red '54 Nash when this hypnotic tune is in control.
"Curtain Time" is another fine tune - but along comes "Sounds of the Loop" and as we're driving into Chicago with the boys things start getting real exciting as Joe Morello breaks into his drum solo. About the time that he is sounding a whole lot like two drummers at once, the song gives way to the quiet "Home at Last" closing track, and all we have is Dave, and a whole lot of his wonderful piano.
This is the collection of songs that my friend and I used to listen to- and really enjoy. And the Nash is long gone.
The CD I received here from Amazon containe an extra two tracks at the end, both fine tracks.
on November 17, 2013
The Dave Brubeck Quartet is rightly regarded as one of the great ensembles of its time. Albums like "Time Out" and "Gone With the Wind" helped define post-war modern jazz in the 1950s and 60s. But my favorite Brubeck album has always been "Jazz Impressions of the USA." Long out of print, this 1950s jazz classic is now finally available on CD. I bought the original vinyl edition when I was a student in Cambridge, England in 1958 and it quickly became my favorite album. Composed entirely by Brubeck, each of the songs conveys an impression of a particular region of the US, whether it's Storyville in New Orleans, an opening night on Broadway in New York, or a traffic jam in Chicago. Paul Desmond is at his absolute best here, and Brubeck plays with a fluidity that really swings, in sharp contrast to his occasional heavy-handedness elsewhere. The real treasure on this album is Joe Morello, one of the great jazz drummers of all time. His performances on "History of a Boy Scout" and "Sounds of the Loop" are nothing short of amazing - melodic and dynamic, with astounding technical prowess. Put on a pair of headphones and listen to this non-stop from beginning to end and prepare for a transcendental musical experience. BTW, the two bonus tracks are a nice surprise, but listen to them at a different time.
on April 25, 2012
I have loved the music of Dave Brubeck and his combos since
my teen years--I am 70 now. This album done in the late 1950s
was, I believe, the first of the jazz impression recordings
made by Dave and his group. The lead tune, "Ode To A Cowboy,"
is my favorite piece on the album. It has poignance and
a haunting melody. The improvs are wonderful--Paul Desmond
never played a bad solo in his life--Brueck's solo is
also quite affecting, an expression of loneliness and the
freedom of the open trail, a mavelous combination of
sorrow and joy. The rest of the album is fine; I especially
like "History Of A Boy Scout," based on Dave's "We Crossed
The Rhine" tune from his WW II experience. Altogether an
enjoyable and entertainng excursion across the USA.
on September 21, 2012
I purchased this LP in 1962 and wore it out. I have a plethora of Brubeck albums, and say that this is just about the best.It is a wonderful musical portrayal/essay of aspects of the USA and all the boys are in top form both individually but especially as a unit.
I suggest this album is a great starting point for anyone beginning an appreciation of jazz and an integral example of what Brubeck is all about.
on October 21, 2011
I was lucky enough to pick this up on vinyl LP recently. Brubeck at his finest here. These songs really do invoke their intended places and landscapes. As others have said, Morello's drumming on Sounds of the Loop is alone worth the price of admission.
on September 12, 2009
I needn't use this space to further praise the long-awaited reissue (Gambit) of this wonderful early Brubeck classic -- or the equally welcome reissue of Brubeck's IN EUROPE 'LIVE' IN COPENHAGEN (Lonehill) -- and, surely, the music of this justly legendary Quartet speaks eloquently for itself. So, I'll limit my comments here to simply questioning when we might expect to see the reissue of two other worthy, critically acclaimed, and inexplicably ignored (for such a popular artist!) Columbia items from the Brubeck catalog: the outstanding quartet efforts with Gerry Mulligan (in place of the departed Desmond) in top form on COMPADRES and BLUES ROOTS, both 5-star Down Beat-rated albums. (Ironically, the lesser BRAVO! BRUBECK!, also with Mulligan and recorded around the same time, has been reissued.) I'm a serious collector, and no self-respecting Brubeck 'aficionado' can be happy without these two strong entries in the Brubeck canon!