Dave Brubeck: Live Last Night

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Live Last Night

Before he played a note last night at the Warner Theatre, Dave Brubeck received a standing ovation.

"I never expected to see a lot of you again," he said, referring to an April concert that was postponed when he was hospitalized with a severe infection.

Ever the trooper at 88, Brubeck rented an RV and hit the road with his quartet, making up lost dates around the country. If a bit shaky on his feet, Brubeck is still strong and nimble at the piano, as he showed in warm and winning two-hour performance.

(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)

Giving a nod to his friend and musical mentor, D.C. native Duke Ellington, Brubeck opened with a pair of Ellington standards, "C-Jam Blues" and "Take the A Train." Once he was warmed up, he played a lush solo to introduce "Stormy Weather," exploring every shade of blue as alto saxophonist Bobby Militello cried to the sky. Switching to flute, Militello played a plaintive "Over the Rainbow," highlighted by Brubeck's touching, crystalline counterpoint.

Other gems included a Chopinesque movement from a classical work by Brubeck's brother Howard and a gentle, affecting version of "These Foolish Things," which featured a sensitive arco solo by bassist Michael Moore.

Brubeck drew his loudest ovation when he broke into the bouncy rhythm of his perennial favorite "Take Five," still sounding fresh at the age of 50.

Saying he hadn't slept in his own bed for two months, Brubeck trotted out the old barroom warhorse "Show Me the Way to Go Home" as a fond farewell before heading out to his waiting RV.

-- MATT SCHUDEL

By J. Freedom du Lac |  June 12, 2009; 11:37 AM ET Live Last Night
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I don't know how many times I have been to his concerts and thought it might be the last time. But really this may have been the last time. What a gift.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | June 13, 2009 5:16 AM

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