Not to say that the individual tracks are written in common time--they are built on uncommon jazz meters as is evident from opening track, "Lost Waltz"--but at this point, the play with time signature no longer seems to be an inspirational factor for the Quartet. This is most evident in the genre shift that the Quartet embraces, producing several tracks that are much more hard bop than cool jazz, starting with the appropriately bluesy "Travellin' Blues" with Paul Desmond finding an airy blues in his alto sax and Brubeck a more grounded response in his piano, hugging tightly to the musical traditions of the form.
"He Done Her Wrong" drifts a bit into gospel-influenced jazz, Joe Morello even hitting a tambourine for percussion while bonus track "Rude Old Man" takes the trio into R&B and bonus track "Who Said That?" is as straight blues as you've ever heard from the Quartet. But hard bop isn't the only genre stretching the Quartet is doing on the album with bebop making an appearance on "Cassandra" and "Forty Days" being itself an excerpt from a jazz oratorio.
But these genre shifts, more than the usage of uncommon time signatures, are the most notable element of Time In. I don't know if those time signatures are simply just old hat to the group now so that they are no longer challenged by them or if they just wanted to tie the otherwise genre-focused album to the Time series, but like Time Changes, Time In really does seem to drift from what the Time series was doing it before. Perhaps that's the meaning of Time In as time is no longer the focus, but merely the form on which the band explores their music. And also like Time Changes, while the album is pretty enjoyable, that Time is no longer the major theme sort of results in the album being both a little disappointing as well as resulting in an album without a strong sense of unity.
Time In might have been an even stronger album had it been more of a focused exploration of hard bop, using uncommon time signatures when it might have been inspirational for the composition at hand. As it is, Time In is certainly an enjoyable album with particularly strong moments as the Quartet explores hard bop, while not neglecting their longstanding core cool jazz sound with the lovely "Softly, William, Softly". But it's also one where the strong parts don't quite unite to an excellent whole. Still recommended for Brubeck fans, but like Time Changes, this one isn't essential. 7/10.
Note: While the album cover puts it under Dave Brubeck's name, it is performed by the classic Quartet and the cover notes essentially treat the album as a Quartet album. As such, I also consider it a Quartet album, rather than a Brubeck solo album.
- Lost Waltz
- Softly, William, Softly
- Time In
- Forty Days
- Travellin' Blues
- He Done Her Wrong
- Rude Old Man
- Who Said That?
- Watusi Drums