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Interchanges '54: Featuring Paul Desmond

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 23, 1991
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 23, 1991)
  • Original Release Date: 1954
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000027GR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #716,591 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By J. C. M. Bannerman on August 13, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is a compilation of two of Dave Brubeck's records (1955's "Brubeck Time" and 1954's "Jazz: Red Hot and Cool"). The only drawback of this album is that it has four songs from "Jazz: Red Hot and Cool": Sometimes I'm Happy, The Duke, Indiana, and Love Walked In. "Jazz Red Hot and Cool" is a wonderful live album which should be reissued ("Brubeck Time" is available on CD). You can get one side of the album "Jazz: Red Hot and Cool" by buying CD this while all except one of the second side of "Jazz: Red Hot and Cool's" tracks are available on a Japanese compilation. I love the combination of Paul Desmond's sax and Dave Brubeck's piano and the 1954 lineup of the quartet was the best Brubeck in my opinion. There is something warm and accessible about this album which I really like although I would be more satisfied (and more logical) if this disk were a reissue of "Jazz: Red Hot and Cool" with a few of the songs from "Brubeck Time." All in all the "Jazz: Red Hot and Cool" tracks make this worth the cost of admission even if you already own "Brubeck Time."
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Format: Audio CD
The tracks on this album first appeared on "Brubeck Time" and "Jazz: Red Hot and Cool," two of the Dave Brubeck Quartet's earliest "hit" records. "Brubeck Time" is presented in its entirety; "Jazz: Red Hot and Cool" is represented by only four tracks. The decision to excise half of "Jazz: Red Hot and Cool" is only one problem with this CD, however. The other is Sony's decision to use the altered master tapes of "Brubeck Time" which Columbia used in its Odyssey LP reissue in the early 1960's. The sound still shows the effects of some horrible "fake stereo" manipulation and there are some awful tape splices: the introduction to "Stompin' for Mili" is cut, and one of Desmond's hottest solos misses several crucial notes. Fortunately, Sony found the original mono masters and released them on its "Brubeck Time" CD. I strongly recommend you get that CD instead of this one. If you want, you can always download the MP3 versions of the "Jazz: Red Hot and Cool" tracks and burn your own version of this compilation.

As to the music:

"Brubeck Time" was the Brubeck Quartet's first studio album (1954), and you would never know Dave Brubeck mistrusted recording jazz without a live audience. Desmond soars, Brubeck creates intricately-structured solos (as he tended to do in the 1950's) with as strong classical as jazz leanings, and the rhythm section of Bob Bates and Joe Dodge is subtly propulsive, if not as creative as the later rhythm section of Gene Wright and Joe Morello. Highlights include the languid "Audry," the intricate "Why Do I Love You?" with a key change every four bars,and the hotter "Stompin' for Mili.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Simply put, this is a complete compilation of two sterling Brubeck 1950s Columbia albums, and it's going at a substantial discount to the price of either album individually (even though the price has recently gone up a couple of dollars). Since I was just now unable to find "Interchanges '54" in a search of Brubeck or Desmond titles, I'm surprised I discovered it in the first place and ordered it.

The two albums are "Brubeck Time" and "Jazz Red, Hot, and Blue." The first is a studio date that approaches the fire of the live concerts ("Jazz Goes to College," "At Oberlin," "At the College of the Pacific"); the 2nd is a club date that's refreshing for not being interrupted by college students' loud applause and whistling (the music "simmers" more than it "cooks"). To my ears, either of these dates has more inspired Desmond than anything he would record in the 1960s. Moreover, my copy of "Jazz Red, Hot, and Blue" was not a consistent transfer; the audio fidelity on "Interchanges '54" still foregrounds alto and piano at the expense of bass and drums but has more consistently "alive" sound than the single edition.

If you've come across this package and are lacking either session, this is no doubt the edition to go with. The only conceivable reason for preferring the originals, is an attachment to either of the Columbia LP covers (the club date has Dave looking distracted by a sexy Suzy Parker leaning over the keyboard).
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