Points on Jazz
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Dave Brubeck's Points on Jazz is a ballet suite composed for two pianos as a set of rhythmic variations on his "Dziekuye," which was itself inspired by the composer's visit to the Chopin museum. First recorded by the piano duo of Gold & Fitzdale in the early 1960s, Brubeck actually tracked down the classical piano duo of Anthony & Joseph Paratore after spotting them playing one of his works in a concert series program and struck up a friendship with them that resulted in this delightful CD. Although the Paratore brothers are classically trained and playing completely written scores throughout this release, the jazz elements within Brubeck's works are obvious in the moody "Blues," the happy-go-lucky "Rag," in the 5/4 time of the playful "Waltz," and the intense 11/8 rhythm of "A La Turk." But the classical movements are just as moving, including the up-tempo pulsing "Scherzo" and the challenging "Fugue." But performing this suite wasn't enough for the two pianists. Their premiere recording of Brubeck's two piano version of "They All Sang Yankee Doodle" (previously recorded in its solo version by John Salmon), a piece inspired by and dedicated to Charles Ives, is a potpourri of traditional songs from America and the various lands from which its immigrants came. The duo easily handles this extremely demanding score. They also play Brubeck's "Four by Four" (originally named "Centennial Suite"), which dates from 1949-1950, during the period the composer was working on a graduate degree while studying with Darius Milhaud. The finale is Howard Brubeck's "Tamale," a lively Mexican-flavored miniature that proves to be extremely lyrical and provides a sensational close to this brilliant CD.