Jazz review: Darius Brubeck Quartet, Edinburgh

Darius Brubeck was last seen in Edinburgh in the company of his brothers, paying tribute to the music of their now late father, Dave Brubeck.

Darius Brubeck Quartet - Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

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This jazz festival concert featured the pianist with his own quartet replicating the instrumentation of his father’s most famous group, with Brandon Allen taking the Paul Desmond role on saxophone, Matt Ridley on bass and South African drummer Wesley Gibbens.

They alternated between classics from the Dave Brubeck Quartet, including a lovely take on In Your Own Sweet Way, an energised Blue Rondo, and material reflecting the leader’s fascination with South African music (they opened the set in powerful style with a strongly rhythmic composition by Abdullah Ibrahim), with a reading of A Ghost of A Chance and one of his own tunes for good measure.

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Without being simply imitative, the pianist has stylistic similarities with his father, and they were inevitably most evident on the material from the Brubeck quartet. Brandon Allen eschewed a similar connection with the style of Paul Desmond in favour of his own sinewy, hard-edged sound on both tenor and soprano saxophones.

We were treated to some elegant playing in the Desmond manner on alto saxophone in the opening set, however, from our own Martin Kershaw, in a quartet led by American guitarist Tom Davis, with Ed Kelly on bass and Chris Wallace on drums, interpreting repertoire from Desmond’s collaboration with Jim Hall in fluent and inventive fashion.

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