That winter evening of 1958, the four American musicians, all in their late thirties, took the stage of the Concertgebouw.
Picture the packed auditorium murmuring expectantly, and four musicians overcome with stage fright yet eager to perform. After some timid applause, Desmond kicked off with the melancholy, sophisticated theme of “Two Part Contention”. The piano came in, sounding out a counter-melody that revealed Brubeck’s classical training and knowledge of counterpoint, acquired when he studied under Milhaud and Schoenberg. He had an inventiveness that was not only melodic but also rhythmic, and he knew how to win over an audience. This was followed by a Disney piece, “Someday, My Prince Will Come” introduced by the piano, three years before the great Miles Davis brought out his eponymous album. They continued with a 1930s standard, “These Foolish Things”, by Jack Strachey, a song that had helped make Ella Fitzgerald famous. Paul led the show in his flowing, ethereal style, with sporadic brassy, dissonant contrasts, proving – if proof were needed – his consummate skills in harmonic phrasing. The saxophone then announced the theme of “One Moment Worth Years”. Eugene, who liked to be called “the Senator”, seemed to lead the private dialogue with an unseen hand, dexterous and sensitive. In the same vein, they led on with “For All We Know” – to thunderous applause. It was now Joe’s turn to take the limelight. When he played “Watusi Drums”, the audience discovered an exceptional drummer who had started out as a virtuoso violinist: fifteen years previously, he had been playing Mendelssohn’s Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. After hearing Jascha Heifetz, he decided he could never reach the maestro’s heights and switched to drums. The band went on to play “The Wright Groove”, a short piece written by Eugene. The concert concluded with “The Duke”, a tribute to Ellington, and then a superb rendition of “Take the A-Train”, a 1940s classic and the hallmark piece of Ellington’s orchestra, played here in a whirlwind of energy and innovative rhythms. With their rhythmic patterns, interspersed with one or two bursts of resounding laughter, the musicians displayed the creative spirit that was to result in the legendary album “Time Out” a year later.
Sadly, the original tape comes to a halt before the end of this piece could be recorded. Nevertheless, we have chosen to retain the surviving part to bear witness to the groundbreaking creativity then bubbling under the surface in this exceptional quartet’s timeless art.
The concert inaugurated a triumphant career in Europe. It announced, loud and clear, the communicative enthusiasm that was the lasting hallmark of these four exceptional musicians.
Dave Brubeck, Piano
Paul Desmond, Saxophone
Eugene Wright, Bass
Joe Morello, Drums
Recorded at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, The Netherlands on 26.II.1958
MONO ℗ 1958 VARA
Remastered by ℗ & © 2022 THE LOST RECORDINGS
Made and printed in Germany
Remastered from the original analog tapes
33 rpm Lacquer-cuts: Kevin Gray
180g 2-vinyl album
1st edition hand-numbered, 2000 copies
Two Part Contention
Someday My Prince Will Come
These Foolish Things
One Moment Worth Years
For All We Know
The Wright Groove
Take the “A” Train (incomplete)