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The Jazz Pour Tous (jazz for all) emissions, which ran from 1959-69 in Belgium, are a treasure trove of unique performances featuring contemporary greats. Yet, none embodied the spirit of the show’s title quite like the Dave Brubeck Quartet. They were the epitome of cool jazz, of sophisticated music that was accessible. For them, the conception of success within jazz was different: they toured the world, sold lots of records and generally enjoyed rockstar status in that once niche genre.
It was in 1959 that they first got together – the same year Brubeck released his most enduring piece, “Take Five.” Here, they play it for a delighted crowd, along with other standards like “In Your Own Sweet Way.” Desmond takes center stage (he is the song’s original composer) and delivers a feather-light style, weaving the melody like a silk thread around the bouncing of Brubeck’s chords. Joe Morello is a magician on the kit, afforded a long and famous solo, while Eugene Wright works a pensive, strolling bassline into the mix. It is hard-won mastery disguised as something light and easy. The result is simply wonderful.