Dave Brubeck & Carmen McRae, Tonight Only (Columbia)
What would the Rifftides staff do without readers who keep us informed and on track? The always-alert Svetlana Ilicheva sent a note from Moscow about Tonight Only, a 1961 encounter of the Dave Brubeck Quartet and Carmen McRae. It was recorded in a New York club before a chattering audience of non-listeners. It has fascinating moments. One track, “Melanctha,” is a Brubeck song with a lyric by his wife Iola. It was evidently inspired by a 1909 Gertrude Stein short story about the life and early death of a woman “always seeking rest and quiet, and always she could only find new ways to be in trouble.” McRae captures the song’s counterpoised humorous and chilling qualities. The Brubeck Quartet also recorded an instrumental version with a typically lyrical Paul Desmond solo. This byway in the Brubeck discography is worth exploring.
(The initial post linked to the wrong video of McRae. Thanks to Jim Brown for tracking down the correct link, affirming the importance of alert readers.)