Brubeck Sr., a pianist who explored the rhythms of 9/8 and 5/4 in the 1950s, cemented tracks like "Take Five" into the jazz psyche when the genre was still obeying the rules. Brubeck Jr. (one of six children) covered the park already awash in sunlight with sublime lounge jazz. The Berklee-educated bandleader, nestled between toms and cymbals, deflected all praise from the crowd onto his father's work. But it was his own collaborative composition, "Dance of the Shadows" — co-written with his multi-instrumentalist brother Chris — that opened the show and set the bossa nova mood.
From there, the quartet played a sampling of the 14 songs from their 2015 Live from the Cellar album. Recorded in 2013, all tracks were composed by his father with lyrics by his mother, Iola. Dan released the double-CD last year with a storybook of a love story firmly ensconced in the history of modern jazz.
"This is a tune that my dad wrote for my mom years ago," he said. "It's played around the world, and is easily my father's most famous song."
"In Your Own Sweet Way" was composed for Iola, and she later wrote the lyrics to a song that was covered by Miles Davis, among many others. Adam Thomas, the quartet's bassist, delivered sultry vocalisations on top of his bass lines. Guitarist Mike Demicco, of Woodstock, NY, and West Coast pianist Tony Foster rounded out the group, keeping the humidity at bay with a cozy atmosphere.