July 2nd, 2019


Dave Brubeck Quartet - Calcutta Blues

Yeah I know, Dave Brubeck, what a total square, what a geek, blah blah blah. You're just going to have to deal with it and listen to Calcutta Blues regardless. Soak up that lazy swing, stretch out with those long precise melodic lines, bask in the melancholy. Several years before Yusef Lateef's overt incorporation of Hindustani music into jazz, it's clear from listening to this that Paul Desmond and Joe Morello have been paying attention to it. Brubeck himself is impeccably rhythmic and for all that this is a rather subdued number it's still an absolute joy.

But there's a flipside to this. It's taken from the album Jazz Impressions Of Eurasia, an album of pieces inspired by the locations on Brubeck's extensive 1958 tour. The problem is that it was sponsored by the US State Department. They were using him as an instrument of propaganda there to instil American cultural values, and it can be difficult to approach this music with an open heart knowing that. What a square, what a geek, what a Shah.

Dave Brubeck Quartet - Calcutta Blues