Joe Gilman


Time Again: Brubeck Revisited, Vol. 2

I have a new CD that I am very happy with. It's called "Time Again: Brubeck Revisited, Vol. 2" and it is released by a label from New York called Sunnyside. This is the same label that released Vol. 1. I am so pleased with what the label is doing!

The album features the wonderful compositions of Dave Brubeck. It also features two startling young musicians (both 21) who were students at the Brubeck Institute. They are bassist Joe Sanders and percussionist Justin Brown. We very rarely ever hear talent at this level at such a young age in the Sacramento area. They have both moved to New York and are currently making waves on the local scene there.

Here's a quote from Dave Brubeck:

Dear Joe,
I have just listened to Volume 2 and find it as great as Volume 1. When I got to the last track, "The Duke," I think that's one of the greatest things I've ever heard. Russell Gloyd and I were discussing it today and saying that the original title of The Duke was Duke Ellington meets Darius Milhaud, and now, to make it even more fascinating we have to include and Erik Satie and Arnold Schoenberg (bass line)."Take Five" also is beyond the beyond. I could not be more elated than I am right now. So, thanks again for another great CD. My compliments to Joe and Justin, too.



Time Again: Brubeck Revisited, V.2

Time Again: Brubeck Revisited,
Vol. 2 (2005)

Since Love Had Its Way
Summer Song
There'll Be No Tomorrow
(a.k.a. Dziekuje)
I'm in Love with a Girl Named Oli
Take Five
G-Flat Theme
Forty Days
Nostalgia de Mexico
The Duke

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With Dave Brubeck and Christian McBride at the 2005 Brubeck Festival, April 10th.

Jazz Review (August 2005), by Philip Clark

Readers may have noticed from copy previously filed that I’m a passionate Brubeckista, but I’ve never quite been able to work out why Brubeck’s own compositions remain so disappointingly underplayed. One reason might be that they’re often hugely difficult. Dave’s deftly supple harmonic changes and his
non-generic structures demand that his works are played – indeed believed in – as compositions and not as mere ‘tunes’. His ballad “In Your Own Sweet Way” is probably his most recorded piece and “The Duke” can’t be far behind, but praise be to Sacramento pianist Joe Gilman for having the courage to view Brubeck’s output holistically, and for having the staying power to release a second scintillating volume of Brubeck compositions.

Gilman’s approach makes for an intriguing comparison with Anthony Braxton’s view of Brubeck, as documented on the two volumes recently issued on the Leo label of Braxton’s standards quartet. Whereas Braxton unpicks the constructivist/modernist facet of Brubeck’s aesthetic (recently highlighted by the title track to Brubeck’s latest release London Flat, London Sharp), Gilman places
him squarely within jazz tradition and reflects more authentically Brubeck’s own concerns and sense of humour. Braxton transforms “Blue Rondo a la Turk” into a satellite of his own Ghost Trance pieces, with Brubeck’s 9/8 theme overlying the blues solos as a stuttering loop. Gilman himself tackled “Blue
Rondo” on Volume 1 of this project, and now must face an ultimate test – how to keep “Take Five” fresh and non-adulatory?

What Gilman achieves is a revelation that every Brubeck fan needs to hear. The familiar vamp is pounded out between the keyboard and the inside of the piano, with punky percussion from Justin Brown nudging the piece towards a hip drum ‘n bass feel. There’s a more familiar jazz feel to the bridge passage, but the trio give this piece of iconic cool a make-over that turns it into a primeval stampede. Its jittery collage-like structure adds to the merriment. A prodigious imagination at work.

“Take Five” represents Gilman at his most extreme, but each track has its own charm and points of interest. The coy ‘teenagers-in-love’ spirit of Brubeck’s dedication to his wife Iola, “I’m In Love With A Girl Named Oli” (first heard on 1997’s So What’s New?) gives Gilman license to evoke Brubeck’s
own funky block chords and the piece marches onwards with relentless impetus. “Forty Days” and “Cassandra” enjoy momentum that probably belongs more to a post-Jarrett or Corea feel, and good to hear Brubeck being updated so successfully.

“The Duke” itself has probably never been overhauled as radically as this, with Gilman casting it as a piquant bi-tonal dirge, at once a brilliant memorial for the Duke and a celebration of the harmonic potential Brubeck’s concepts have opened up for jazz improvisers. Volume Three to Get Ready?


JazzTimes (June 2005), by Thomas Conrad

For Time Again: Brubeck Revisited, Volume Two (Sunnyside), Joe Gilman concentrates mostly on material from the 1960's, the golden era of classic Brubeck albums like Time Out and Time Further Out. A lifelong devotee of the pianist and a member of the faculty of the Brubeck Institute at the University of the Pacific, what makes Gilman's work rewarding is his passion for and closeness with the material, combined with his willingness to rethink it. People might wonder if another version of "Take Five" (technically, of course, a Paul Desmond tune) is even necessary, given that a thousand recordings have been authorized in the U.S. alone. The answer is yes. Gilman's take on "Five", with its hand smashed piano strings and cacophonous African percussion, is outrageous and hilarious. "The Duke", one of Brubeck's lasting songs, is uncharacteristically slowed to a stark, halting, yearning dirge.