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Intuition by The Brubeck Brothers Quartet

Intuition is a varied, inventive and energetic album whose sound seems larger than that of a quartet and whose accessibility belies the complexity of some of the meters. Individually, each of the musicians is excellent, and the success of the recording lies in the perceptible comfort and trust that the members derive from one another’s playing. Moreover, Chris Brubeck, whose compositions have been performed by groups as varied as the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Russian National Symphony, contributes substantially to the feel of Intuition with his atmospheric and nuanced pieces that the quartet brings to life.

In addition to the fact that Dan and Chris are brothers, they share with guitarist Mike DeMicco years of experience and a mutual feel for the music. DeMicco’s clear tone and melodic sensibility enrich not only the sometimes unpredictable changes of the Brubeck Brothers’ music, but also its evocative feeling. As for pianist Taylor Eigsti, recently signed to a Concord Records contract, the Brubeck family has known him since he came back stage during a Dave Brubeck concert; he has performed occasionally with the Brubeck Brothers ever since. Certainly, on Intuition, Eigsti, who must have been quite a prodigy when the Brubecks met him at the age of eleven, now at the age of 21 performs with the technical mastery and musical imagination of some professional musicians at least twice his age.

The result is an extraordinary quartet whose music is diverse and whose execution is remarkably disarming, particularly considering the complex time signatures of some of Chris Brubeck’s pieces. The canny eleven-four metrical concept of "Sahara Moon" serves Brubeck’s overriding narrative musically expressed as the quartet shifts between patterns of five-and-six or eight-and-three. One would never notice such an unusual meter during the performance, for the exceptional proficiency of the musicians effectively uses the meter to set a mood, rather than to execute notation. Though Dan Brubeck’s drumming establishes the tune’s pattern, DeMicco’s seemingly straightforward (to the listener’s ear) melodic exposition takes over, embellished by Eigsti’s upper-register coruscations. Even when it appears that Dan Brubeck is rousing listeners with a second-line drum beat straight from New Orleans on "Parade du Funk," that directness turns out to be more complicated that expected as Brubeck performed the still invigorating rhythm in seven-four. The omission of the eighth beat doesn’t detract from the spirit of the piece, heightened by Pete Levin’s B-3 organ groove and Chris Brubeck’s wailing and blatting bass trombone work for enhanced listener appeal.

In contrast to the extroversion of "Parade du Funk" or the exciting propulsion of "Change Up," "Still As Winter," slow and lyrical and harmonically gorgeous, shows the versatility and now-matured talent of Eigsti as he expresses the musical story to be told with delicacy and a fine sense of touch. Recognition also should be extended to Dan Brubeck’s alternately driving and texturally rich drum work, which is omnipresent throughout the entire CD even when the drummer does not engage in soloing, as he does between choruses of "Sahara Moon," or when he is not kicking off a performance like his introduction to "Change Up."

Referring to the unspoken but nevertheless always present understanding among musicians when they play, Intuition offers some excellent performances from four musicians who know each other’s thoughts before their instruments express them. Their imaginative work on this CD is well worth the time spent searching for it.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: The Brubeck Brothers Quartet
  • CD Title: Intuition
  • Genre: Various Jazz Styles
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Koch
  • Tracks: West of One, Sahara Moon, Parade du Funk, Bullwinkle’s Revenge, Still as Winter, Open Door, Jump Up Get Down, Easy for You to Pray, Change Up
  • Musicians: Dan Brubeck (drums), Chris Brubeck (bass, bass trombone), Mike DeMicco (guitar), Taylor Eigsti (piano), Pete Levin (organ)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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