Double Live From the USA & UK, culled from live performances in 1995 and 1998, represents only a fraction of Brubeck's immense backlog of recorded material. The first disc, comprising selections taken from a pair of 1995 concerts at Washington, D.C.'s National Cathedral, features some incredible work from Brubeck, alto saxophonist Bobby Militello, bassist Jack Six and drummer Randy Jones. A comfortable, and at times even raucous, atmosphere prevails as Militello and Brubeck trade sly barbs back and forth in the form of quotes from jazz standards and classical works while Jones and Six remain relentlessly loyal to a solid rhythmic foundation.
On the second disc, which documents the quartet's 1998 stint in the UK, Alec Dankworth replaces a recently retired Jack Six, but the chemistry remains flawless. With back-to-back offerings from Time Out and a few new works that include a friendly nod to piano matron and close personal friend Marian McPartland, Brubeck keeps the older material fresh and crafts his more contemporary compositions into familiar favorites.
While some critics pan Brubeck for his obtuse approach to interpretation, his abilities to draw an appreciative crowd and surround himself with quality musicians (both of which this collection highlights) stand as a testament not only to his popularity but also to his viability and flexibility as a performer, innovator and artist.