From a DBQ television appearance in Europe, we have the piece that served as the quartet’s concert opener for more than a decade. First, a couple of observations, one from me, one from Eugene Wright:
From me: Whoever decreed that white men can’t play the blues never really listened to Desmond and Brubeck personalize the idiom as they do in their solos here.
Gene’s observation is a quotation in a book about Desmond. The first part of it applies to his relationship with Morello from the beginning of their time together, when Wright joined Brubeck in early 1958.
Right away, Joe and I were as one. It was like Jo Jones and Walter Page with Count Basie. It was right from the beginning. Joe Morello and I locked up immediately. Joe’s out of New York and he had that thing–Ben Webster and all those guys loved him because he had that little extra thing you need. When musicians used to ask me how I could play with that band, I told them they weren’t listening. I told them I was the bottom, the foundation; Joe was the master of time; Dave handled the polytonality and polyrhythms; we all freed Paul to be lyrical. Everybody was listening to everybody. It was beautiful. Those people who couldn’t accept it were looking, not listening.
That was the major blues for this mini-series. Tomorrow, the minor blues.