JJ 06/63: Dave Brubeck – Bossa Nova U.S.A.

Sixty years ago, Mike Shera thought the pianist's leap on to the bossa bandwagon had turned out fine, even swinging. First published in Jazz Journal June 1963


“We had waited long for bossa nova, or some kindred rhythm, to capture the imagination of the public.” Thus writes Dave Brubeck, in the liner note to this album. One might well add “before we jumped on the bandwagon”. Dave and his all-American boys have done a fine job on b.n., one which will no doubt send this album right to the top of the best-selling jazz (?) LP charts.

One must point out that at least two tracks, “June” and “Tomorrow” are not b.n. attempts. Whether one describes Des­mond’s alto as limpid or limp and Brubeck’s piano as percussive or heavy-handed, it cannot be denied that the group achieves a relatively intense swing during the alto solo on “Trolley Song”, the best track on the record.

Those looking for exotic instruments in the rhythm section will not find them here, for Dave has not troubled himself to add even that conces­sion to authenticity. I eagerly await Dave’s next album. What will it be, “Country and Western Meets Bossa Nova in Further Out Waltz Time”?

(e) Bossa Nova U.S.A.; (a) Vento Fresco (Cool Wind); (c) Trolley Song; (d) Theme For June; (a) Coração Sensível (Tender Heart) (18 min) – (a) Irmão Amigo (Brother Friend); (d) There’ll Be No Tomorrow; (a) Cantiga Nova Swing; (a) Lamento; This Can’t Be Love (23½ min)
Paul Desmond (alt); Dave Brubeck (p); Gene Wright (bs); Joe Morello (d). (a) January 3, 1962; (b) July 2, 1962; (c) July 5, 1962; (d) July 12, 1962; (e) October 25, 1962.
(CBS BPG 62127 12inLP 33s. 1d.)