It is a curious fact here that when one wants to hear symphonic jazz and crossover music, the Singapore Chinese Orchestra are the go to people.
In the past year, the SCO has presented an all-Gershwin concert, collaborated with country fiddler Mark O'Connor and brought back Chris Brubeck, the ever-versatile jazzman son of legend Dave Brubeck. His third appearance here came in the Singapore debut of the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, playing with the SCO at the Singapore Conference Hall on Friday and Saturday night.
Alongside Chris was his brother drummer Dan, guitarist Mike DeMicco and pianist Chuck Lamb, who dominated centrestage, discreetly supported by the orchestra conducted by music director Yeh Tsung. It is the very nature of crossover symphonic concerts that the special guests were the main draw, and the quartet performing mostly original music by Dave Brubeck did not disappoint.
Chris was the main spokesman, regaling the audience with anecdotes about each piece and their inspirations. Then he comfortably alternated between electric bass guitar, trombone and later even crooning, exuding that intense yet nonchalant air that only jazz people know how. In My One Bad Habit Is Falling In Love, the title from a quote by Ella Fitzgerald, his trombone poured out the moody blues, contrasted by the heady procession of tunes in The Basie Band Is Back In Town.