Picture yourself drinking coffee at a small café right in front of Tokyo’s bay. Not only are you in Japan, but you also have some unusual company.
Well, not any random, tedious company, in fact, why don’t we dream big? Imagine the Dave Brubeck Quartet playing right next to you, in all their glory and genius. That’s what you get for stumbling across Jazz Impressions of Japan. Now, I don’t want to sound overhyped with this music piece, but if both definitions of suave and classic were to be resumed into sound, this album would lightly carry their weight.
Liquefying everything around you, Dave takes us on a journey which, as a matter of fact, it’s also his, claiming that wonder feeling of an illusionary company, which Jazz so kindly provides. Although contextualizing might be important, the main ingredient that any musician must possess to create a good album is knowing how to draw and illustrate something, an idea or a story. Well, it doesn’t really matter if we get the message behind the composition, as long as it takes us somewhere, even if far from that coffee shop. Dave is a broken time machine in this masterpiece. Like a mind melter, he totally takes you to some place where time and space have long been forgotten, in all his holy patience. Jazz, contrasting with some other genres, has this weirdly amazing thing of almost letting the listener enter the jam, mixing freedom of interpretation and laziness. From the whole track list, my top three are Fujiyama, Zen is When and Koto Song.
The first one is simply this dark tranquility tune, like an unheard cry. The sad Japanese roller coaster, honoring Mount Fuji through Paul Desmond’s sax. It’s quite fascinating when we suddenly hear a metal gong from afar, suggesting the whole Asian thing going on.
Zen is When is a flying tune: no boundaries to experimentalism. Like an escape from a repetitive Eugene Wright (bass), we get a piano walking free of duties, running from tempo and Joe Morello (drums).
In the very end, Koto Song unveils itself through this initially nervous, water-like frenzy, simulating the sounds of the Koto, a musical instrument from Japan. It’s one of the most belly-pinched endings that I’ve heard, one that left me starving for more.