18 APR 13 CHRIS SLAWECKI
Dave Brubeck recorded numerous Distinctive Rhythm Instrumentals between 1949 and 1951 as the leader of a uniquely melodic trio with bassist Ron Crotty and Cal Tjader swapping between vibes, drums and percussion. Eight of the best instrumentals, a complete set of jazz and pop standards interpreted in Brubeck’s magical style, are back in vinyl circulation at retailers participating in the April 20 Record Store Day celebration.
Distinctive Rhythm Instrumentals might be Brubeck’s set, but Tjader defines the trio’s sound and vision by the instruments he plays. Tjader proves such a great partner for Brubeck -- they’re both articulate and intelligent and yet don’t let that intelligence get in the way of their simple joy in playing music. As drummer, Tjader establishes an airtight trio sound that helps Brubeck elegantly sparkle as he glides like an expert dancer through “Blue Moon” and (like Thelonious Monk) find new melodies in the oddest corners and angles of “Tea for Two.”
Tjader beats out an Afro-Cuban groove to reinvent “That Old Black Magic” as a Latin piano/conga discussion that’s both unconventional and hot. And his vibes radiate the perfect jumping, jiving sound for “‘S Wonderful” and the uptempo favorite “Sweet Georgia Brown,” through which the pianist chases his vibes player around and around like a kitten after a playful mouse.