Surprise vocalist adds rhythm to Brubeck tribute concert
'BOYLAN Plays Brubeck' was the title of last Wednesday night's concert in the John Field Room by Cian Boylan (piano), Ciaran Wilde (alto sax), Dave Redmond (double bass) and Guy Rickerby (drums). Dave Brubeck himself is now 89, still playing, but unlikely to revisit Ireland, so we must content ourselves with the CDs and occasional tributes by other musicians.
The concert began and ended with Paul Desmond's Take Five, but there was no resemblance between the first version and the last. As an opening tune it was perhaps too ambitious, and Ciaran Wilde certainly was not ready for it. By the time they got to Raggy Waltz he had warmed up and was getting into the Desmond groove. A mix of ragtime and waltz time, the tune is another from the Brubeck Quartet's famous 1959 album Time Out. Cian Boylan rose to the two-handed challenge, and the group in general came together. In Your Own Sweet Way featured a delectable bass solo by Dave Redmond. In a change of pace, Leonard Bernstein's Somewhere, from West Side Story, was played as a fugue.
Piano, bass and drums opened the second half with Unsquare Dance, in 7/4 time. The polyrhythms continued with Three to Get Ready, & Four to Go, then a surprise vocal guest appeared: Cormac Kenevey, whose innate sense of rhythm made the most of Summer Song and There'll Be Some Changes Made.
The Duke, a masterpiece of Brubeckian polytonality, was followed by a personal favourite, Blue Rondo à la Turk, whose 9/8 time signature never gets in the way of its blues feeling. This aspect was ably taken care of by Ciaran Wilde, now fully on form.
Cormac Kenevey returned for the encore to add words to Take Five, finally played as it should be.