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'Lullabies' is a lovely farewell from Dave Brubeck / the arts fuse

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Lullabies on Verve Records, a collection of familiar songs and original compositions for the entire family from a giant of American jazz, Dave Brubeck is the last recorded solo album from the inimitable musician. The album showcases Brubeck's signature improvisational style on well-known children's songs, beloved standards and originals. 

Dave recorded this serene collection of music as a gift to his grandchildren and as his last studio recording.  His ingenuity and integrity, all hallmarks of great Brubeck recordings, are abundantly apparent on the album.  The set contains covers and originals that will appeal to existing jazz and Dave Brubeck fans, as it exhibits his innovative style over delicate, inviting compositions that will also be enjoyed by the entire family.  At the time of the recording, Brubeck commented on the project and his hopes for the compilation. "Some of the melodies on this album are like those familiar songs," says Brubeck.  "Some are original pieces that I thought would appeal to babies as well as an older generation. I hope the littlest ones will respond to this music, and that parents and grandparents will enjoy it as well."

the arts fuse Allen Michie writes......Lullabies is a lovely farewell from Brubeck.  It is his final solo piano recording, originally made as a gift to his grandchildren, and now a present to all of us from the Brubeck estate.

This really is an album of lullabies. The target audience is sleepy babies and the Brubeck fans who tuck them in (some of whom will be great-grandparents who played "Take Five" on the jukebox in 1960). "Some of the melodies on this album are like those familiar songs," said Brubeck at the time of the recording. "Some are original pieces that I thought would appeal to babies as well as an older generation. I hope the littlest ones will respond to this music, and that parents and grandparents will enjoy it as well."

All of the tracks are short and focused, and there are no extended solos. The album is beautifully recorded, the piano is perfectly tuned with balance and presence, and there is just the right amount of reverb. In stark contrast to something like "I'm In a Dancing Mood," everything here is even and steady, and nothing is harsh or rumbly. There are no crowd-pleasers or flag-wavers; nothing made for a road tour or to dazzle the critics. There's no obligation for Brubeck to once again trot out his trademark styles or signature rhythmic patterns, except for when they just come out naturally. It's the intimate sound of Brubeck's old age, tender affection, and distilled musical wisdom.

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