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Dave Brubeck

We will “Take Five” and remember jazz great Dave Brubeck.

This 1956 file photo shows American composer, pianist and jazz musician Dave Brubeck. Brubeck, a pioneering jazz composer and pianist died Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 of heart failure, after being stricken while on his way to a cardiology appointment with his son. He would have turned 92 on Thursday. (AP)

This 1956 file photo shows American composer, pianist and jazz musician Dave Brubeck. Brubeck, a pioneering jazz composer and pianist died Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 of heart failure, after being stricken while on his way to a cardiology appointment with his son. He would have turned 92 on Thursday. (AP)

Jazz great Dave Brubeck drove cattle on horseback as a boy on his father’s California ranch.  Always remembered the hooves and their beat.  Exciting.  Syncopated.  All over.  You can hear it in his music.

At his piano keyboard.  Brubeck died this week at nearly 92.  He took jazz to places and people it had not been before, with a sound at once thrilling and familiar.  Performed nearly to the end.  A giant who stuck around a long, long time.

This hour, On Point:  the life and music of jazz great Dave Brubeck.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ted Gioia, jazz critic and author of several books on music, including The History of Jazz and West Coast Jazz: Modern Jazz in California 1945-1960.

Bobby Militello, jazz saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist. He’s played in the Dave Brubeck Quartet since 1982.

Russell Gloyd, producer, conductor, and manager for Dave Brubeck since 1976.

From Tom’s Reading List

Spin “West Coast jazz legend Dave Brubeck died this morning near his home in Connecticut. The pianist-bandleader, 91, who had the audacity to enjoy a Top 40 hit — 1959′s “Take Five” — never quite met the exacting standards of the critical establishment, who considered him a pale representative of the real African-American thing. Fortunately, he hung around long enough to garner considerable acclaim as an influential elder.”

The Atlantic “Many remembrances of Dave Brubeck, who died on Wednesday one day short of his 92nd birthday, will be dominated by his passion for unusual rhythms. Brubeck’s 1959 classic “Take Five” is deservedly one of the best-known and best-loved jazz recordings of all time. At a time when almost every jazz and rhythm and blues recording used standard 4/4 time, and the waltz (which he also mastered) constituted an exotic beat, Brubeck opened the record with a syncopated, almost ominous piano riff with five beats to a bar. A bit later, Paul Desmond floated in on top with a mysterious saxophone line, and then the whole quartet launched into a joyous, corkscrewing second theme.”

Video

Here’s Dave Brubeck’s hit Take Five.

Playlist

Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet

Over the Rainbow (live)  by Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond

Irish Black Bottom by Lu Waters

Blue Rondo a la Turk by the Dave Brubeck Quartet

Everybody’s Comin by Dave Brubeck and Louis Armstrong

It’s a Raggy Waltz by the Dave Brubeck Quartet

Body and Soul by Dave Brubeck Trio

Waltzing by the Dave Brubeck Quartet

Pange Lingua Variations: Bow Down by Dave Brubeck and the London Symphony Orchestra

London Flat, London Sharp by Dave Brubeck Quartet

On the Sunny Side of the Street by the Dave Brubeck Quartet

Thank You by Dave Brubeck

C Jam Blues by the Dave Brubeck Quartet

Take Five (live) Dave Brubeck Quartet

 

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  • Gregg Smith

    Mr. Brubeck will be missed. One record I played the grooves off was “Two Generations of Brubeck”, an album with his sons. The solo piece “Thank You” (translated from Polish) was my favorite. I saw him on a winter night in Boone, NC sometime in the mid 80′s. It was snowy and the sax player was stranded in Buffalo. Perhaps that was Mr. Militello. The show was great despite the missing player.

    After the show I went backstage to get an autograph. There were several of us waiting in a hallway outside the dressing room. Someone came out and said we could come in but the local press would be allowed in first. In Boone that meant the “Mountain Times” and the “Watauga Democrat”. Bless them but they knew nothing about Brubeck. I walked in with them as if I was a reporter. I don’t remember what questions they asked but I do remember they were not all that interesting. The next thing you know Mr. Brubeck and I were deep into a discussion with the reporters feverishly taking notes. 

    I asked him about his span. I had read he could span a 12th with his humongous hand. He replied by asking me what my span was and I said a tenth if I got on the very edge of the keys. He put up his hand for me to put mine against. He had an entire knuckle past my pinky.

    We talked about time. And he explained a song called “Tritonian”. I forget which was which but the Bass, Drums and Piano all played in different times. One in 2, one in 3 and one in 5. At certain time intervals the math worked out where all their glorious ones came together. To explain it he patted one hand on his knee in 2 and the other hand on the other knee in 3 while he counted out loud to 5. It blew my mind.

    I was thrilled when he played “Thank You” during the show. I asked him what songs he played that he would not have played if the sax player was there and “Thank You” was the first one he mentioned.

    Years later, he performed it on a TV special. It was a little different but I feel sure it probably was every time he played it. He had aged quite a bit but the mastery was still very evident. The solid unrelenting beat with the left hand and the complete independence of his right hand toying all around the beat is incredible. The subtlety and nuance of his dynamics is awesome. It’s not flashy but it gives me chills.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho3PVmp-4YE

    • 1Brett1

      His was a Rachmaninoff span!

      • Gregg Smith

        A freak of nature.

    • 1Brett1

      I’ve heard other stories very similar to yours that reflect what nice man Bruebeck was and how much he cared about musicians in a much younger generation.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Very cool!!!

    • jefe68

      Art Tatum could also span 12ths. 

      • 1Brett1

        Tatum! A man Fats Waller called “God.” Tatum had probably the most developed left hand among pianists in Jazz.

        • Gregg Smith

          True but his right hand was no slouch. I have a book called “The right hand of Art Tatum”. The man had a knack for fluidity and efficiency of movement. I’m not really that great of a player. What I can’t play I can usually comprehend. Tatum makes my jaw drop. It’s beyond my ability to grasp as far as playing goes.

          • 1Brett1

            Oh, yeah, he was highly developed on both sides. I just note this because a lot of Jazz piano players aren’t as developed on their left sides. Tatum’s left side was like a classical player’s. 

          • Gregg Smith

            Yes it was.

        • Bruce94

           I heartily agree with Waller’s assessment.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         It’s tea time with Art Tatum.  Simply amazing.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKb0Sc2lYVU

        • Bruce94

          For the first time in a long while I’m amazed to find myself in total agreement with one of your comments :)

      • jefe68

        Tatum had some serious classical chops as well.
        Chopin, (Valse in C# Minor, Op. 64, No. 2)

        Vladimir Horowitz once said that if Art Tatum ever took up classical music seriously, Horowitz would quit the next day.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fylxor4zo0w

    • Bruce94

      Thanks for your thoughtful posts as well as the other comments by those who appreciated Brubeck–an iconic figure in the jazz world, who will be sorely missed.

      I was fortunate to hear him perform at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in May 2004, and have been a life-long fan since discovering his music in the late 50′s & early 60′s.  Having been taught harmony and improvisation in the style of Teddy Wilson, Brubeck’s experiments in different time signatures, counterpoint, polyrhythm and polytonality challenged and inspired me like few other artists.

      That period in jazz history produced some incredible composers and innovators who took the genre to extraordinary heights including Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans to name a few who shaped my music  consciousness and gave birth to “cool” jazz (at the time for me an alternative to hard bop which was and remains beyond my technical prowess). Brubeck certainly looms large in this group.

      I too remember going thru the Brubeck book and trying to play Blue Rondo a la Turk, and eventually settling for less demanding pieces like Take Five, Kathy’s Waltz or The Duke.  Of course, now I couldn’t even begin to tackle this material, and since I stopped playing stride years ago, my span has decreased to such an extent that I have to roll a tenth in the rare instance I employ it in the bass.

      In retrospect what was so exciting about Brubeck as well as many of the other jazz giants who flourished in the 50′s & 60′s was his ability to combine seemingly incongruous elements including classical forms, non-traditional time signatures and jazz idioms.  Brubeck’s mentor, Darius Milhaud, is worth checking out in this regard especially his La Creation du Monde which IMO surpasses anything in the literature attempting to draw on classical orchestration and jazz expression. In addition, the unparalleled lyrical, fluid style of Desmond contrasted sharply, but worked amazingly well alongside Brubeck’s heavier handed intensity.

      • Gregg Smith

        You are welcome but the thanks goes to you. Great comment.

        The last time I saw him in concert was in Charlotte in the late 90′s. At the time I was playing for drunks in bars, high school kids at proms, businessmen in hotels and frat parties knee deep in broken glass, beer and puke. I saw four elegant gentlemen wearing tuxedos in an opulent theater playing for a sold out sit down audience who were attentive and musically literate. The eloquence of the music was astounding. I realized more vividly how being a musician is a journey without a destination. I have formed the opinion that I should always feel that I am a better musician than I’ve ever been. If not then the journey is done. It’s all about the journey.

        I saw him once after that when he came to perform with the Hickory Chorale Society. A friend who sang with them was charged with picking him up from the airport and she got me into the rehearsal the day before the show. I was to be out of town for the show itself. That was very cool but I couldn’t stay long.

    • Steve__T

       Thanks for sharing the memories, awesome.

    • JGC

      That’s great. Really enjoy your reminiscences on musical subjects, Gregg Smith!  Thanks for that again.  

    • Mike_Card

      I saw/heard the quartet perform live on the steps of the Sheldon Art Gallery, University of Nebraska, in the spring of 1966.

      Ever since, the first balmy day of spring–when the grass reaches a grab and a half high–makes me remember and yearn for Brubeck or Charles Lloyd or Bill Evans.

  • jefe68

    While I know Dave Brubeck is the reason Take Five is famous, he did not write Take Five. Paul Desmond did. Blue Rondo ala Turk was the other tune released with Take Five and it was written by Brubeck. In my view this tune really speaks to the essence of Brubeck’s writing at the time.

    That said Dave Brubeck was a brilliant musician and composer who will be missed. Like a lot of people the album Time Out was one of the first jazz recordings I heard when I was about 12 or so.

    Paul Desmond was also the man with the dry alto sound that so defined this band.

    Mr. Desmond also had a dry wit to go with that dry sound:

    “I think I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to sound like a dry martini.”

    “I have won several prizes as the world’s slowest alto player, as well as a special award in 1961 for quietness.”

    “I tried practicing for a few weeks and ended up playing too fast.”

    On the secret of his tone: “I honestly don’t know! It has something to do with the fact that I play illegally.”

    “I was unfashionable before anyone knew who I was.”

    Other Brubeck tunes to check out: “It’s a Raggy Waltz,” “In Your Own Sweet Way” and “The Duke.” are over looked as great Brubeck compositions.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kc34Uj8wlmE

    • Gregg Smith

      Blue Rhondo ala Turk is genius. The song is in 9/8 time but it sounds natural. The phasing of 3 groups of 2 followed by a group of 3 eighth notes is just a smidgeon away from a traditional 4 feel. I learned it 100 years ago and without a drummer it is very easy to turn those last 3 eighth notes into triplets which makes it 4/4. The sublety is so cool. You feel something odd in 9 but can’t put your finger on it because the flow is still there. 

      I have a songbook with all the songs you mention in it. I can’t play most of Brubecks stuff without rearranging it to fit my hands then it loses something. The book is autographed to me from him on the cover. I’v always kept it on the shelf with everything else I draw from. The autograph is in pencil and a bit worn. I’m thinking it may be time to frame it.

      • Acnestes

        Have you ever heard the version of Rondo that Keith Emerson did with The Nice (pre-ELP)?  They transcribed it into 4/4 and rocked it out but it still retains a great feel.

        • Gregg Smith

          Yes I have, I’ve seen him play it with ELP. Brubeck was certainly a huge influence on Emerson and I believe they were friends.

      • Mike_Card

        I listened to the Mozart piece and Blue Rondo back-to-back, for the first time.  Never heard it before, but it’s clear that Brubeck’s inspiration was the Rondo alla Turca.

        • Gregg Smith

          I’ll have to check that out, I had no idea. Cool.

      • nj_v2

        Most of it is in 9/8, but some sections are in 4/4.

      • Steve__T

        have you ever heard  Blue Rondo a la Turk sung by Al Jarreau? He also sang Take five, lyrics written by Dave Brubeck.

        • Gregg Smith

          No, I haven’t. I’ve got some listening assignments. Thanks.

          • Steve__T

             No problems. Its the one thing we seem to always agree on, Music!

          • Gregg Smith

            That’s cool but as I recall you are a Libertarian and a Ron Paul supporter. That would mean we agree on more than you may think.

          • Steve__T

             If you haven’t found them yet I found Brubeck and Jarreau together doing Take 5, his usual version is much longer but what a treat.
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh5-kYP45pg

            Blue Rondo a La Turk
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jqBzi_3rdg
             

    • 1Brett1

      And let us not forget drummer Joe Morello who had a penchant for odd time signatures (at least odd compared to what were popularly played at the time).

      • jefe68

        Check out Max Roach.
        He had a group with Booker Little around that period that was doing experiments with time signatures.

        But I agree the sound of that quartet was also Joe Morello and Desmond as well as Eugene Wright. It really speaks to Dave Brubeck’ ability to foster the collaborative nature of Jazz and to make some wonderful music.

        • 1Brett1

          I like your sentiment about Bruebeck’s collaborative nature; I feel it defined much of his musical direction…And, oh, yeah, MAX ROACH! He was a huge direct influence on my playing!

  • Ed75

    After writing a piece of music for a Catholic event in 1981 he converted to the Catholic Church. ‘Take Five’ always seemed to me to capture the interval of waiting and calm between the 1950s and the opening of the Vatican Council and the power of the 1960s.

    • 1Brett1

      ? That tune was written by Paul Desmond, Ed.

      • Gregg Smith

        I don’t think Ed said otherwise, did he?

        • 1Brett1

          Nor did I say Ed said such, did I? Ed’s lack of knowing anything about the tune’s origin is somewhat evident, at least, as he is trying to make a correlation between Catholicism and some ongoing inspirational factor ostensibly attributable to Bruebeck…Well, anyone who knows of Desmond’s interest in counter culture, LSD, alcohol, weed and cigarettes, probably would not want to make some correlation between the tune and Catholicism, particularly a Fundamentalist Catholic would not wish to do so…However, I’m sure Ed probably thanks you [sarcasm] for compelling me to explain further, ending any chance of being discreet.   

          • Gregg Smith

            Well yea it seemed to me you did and you did not address his issue of the church at all. But that’s cool. I don’t want to get into, “I didn’t say you said I did” land.

            I think one beautiful thing about music is how it can mean something different to each listener. I try to always construct lyrics to be open to interpretation. This phenomena is even more profound in instrumental music. Ed is entitled to his own interpretation and it has zip, zero, nada to do with the song’s origin which was not written is 1981. That’s how I knew Ed was not referring to Take 5 in the first part of his comment. Embrace it and be happy you and Ed are both moved by the great music even if in different ways. Stop quibbling.

          • 1Brett1

            You mistake my brief comment; I doubted Ed would want to make an association with the tune, ‘Take Five,’ and Desmond’s ways, was my point. I don’t really care who he thought wrote the tune; but, considering many do incorrectly attribute it to Bruebeck, I was not only correcting him but trying to discreetly point out to him that if he would Google everything he might wish to rescind his comment.

            I do agree with you on each individual’s interpretation; I just don’t think Ed wanted to merely state how the tune inspired him. He could have simply said how he felt a closeness with his faith whenever he listened to the tune/how the tune in his mind represents a certain calm before a tumultuous time in the Catholic Church, or something along those lines, but he didn’t; he began with Bruebeck’s Catholic conversion, which opened his comment followed (in the very next sentence) by how he thought the tune was reminiscent of calm before the changing Vatican in how this “unfortunate” indication of changing times carried over into an “unfortunate” social period (“the ’60s”). Which, you can believe Ed’s sincerity in wanting to express his feeling when he hears the tune; I, however, don’t buy that innocence.

            Actually, the tune, contrary to Ed’s ‘take,’ is closer to an abstraction OF rocky, changing times and perhaps a kind of foreshadowing of societal changes, in and out of music.

          • Gregg Smith

            It reminds me of juggling, go figure. Peace man.

          • 1Brett1

            That’s cool. I often have visuals like that when I play/listen to music. I imagine dancing a lot when I’m playing; but, regarding this tune, I can see juggling.

          • jefe68

            If you get into Paul Desmond you find a dry wit and a complex man who drank a lot.

            Dave Brubeck by contrast was a health nut, which may be the reason he lived to 91.

            Desmond on yogurt he said, “I don’t like it, but Dave is always trying things
            like that. He’s a nutritional masochist. He’ll eat anything as long as
            he figures it’s good for him.”

            Desmond’s fondness for scotch was well known. So in early 1976 when a physical examination showed lung cancer, he was ironically pleased that
            his liver was fine. “Pristine, perfect. One of the great livers of our
            time. Awash in Dewars and full of health.”

            As I said, he had quite the wit. So I doubt Take Five was anything more than a play on words dealing with the time signature and taking five, as in a rest.

          • 1Brett1

            I agree, it was just a pun of sorts. I was just suggesting that if it had anything to do with an association of the time in which it came out (something Ed was attempting to suggest), it was more likely a reflection of a changing times toward new, liberal ideas, and not a reflection of a happiness with the ’50s Leave it  to Beaver mentality.   

    • Acnestes

      Sigh.  I started out thinking, “Hey!  Now here’s a topic we can all agree on!”  And then you had to go and inject Jesus into it.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Love that sax.

  • wauch

    My wife, father-in-law, and I had the opportunity to see Maestro Brubeck and his band a couple of years ago at the Burlington, VT Jazz Fest and he still packed a wallop of sound and it was one of the most emotional concerts of my life because I was witnessing one of the pillars of the genre carrying the flame proudly and powerfully! RIP Dave you left a permanent stamp on your art and on all that had the opportunity to hear your genius!

  • twenty_niner

    My favorite Jazz musician. I believe I have every album. Highly recommend “Interchanges ’54″.

  • http://twitter.com/beauthebault Beau Thebault

    Listening to Dave Brubeck as a young teen changed the way I listened to music from then on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/frank.youngwerth.7 Frank Youngwerth

    Not sure if anyone else has pointed this out, but Brubeck doesn’t solo on Take Five (while saxophonist-composer Desmond and drummer Morello do). Is any other instrumentalist most famous for a track on which he only keeps time? On the other hand, the odd time signature thing was his concept for an album, making him one of the first intellectual giants in the music.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QMDZ3LH5U2B4GAT7J2HS4TCP6E Jim

    I really love his jazz music and i started late late listening to him. i just love it.

  • nj_v2

    Thanks for this program!

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    I hope the folks on the show can comment on the racial aspects of jazz in the early part of Dave Brubeck’s career.

    My favorite story (I think I saw this on the PBS Jazz series?) is that after the editors of Time magazine debated whether to put Dave Brubeck or Duke Ellington on the cover – it was Duke Ellington who handed Dave Brubeck the Time magazine with Dave Brubeck on the cover.

    http://www.pbs.org/brubeck/theMan/classicBrubeckQuartet.htm

    My kids love Take Five.  I got to see Dave Brubeck at Mechanics Hall in Worcester – wonderful.

    Neil

  • elaine_schear

    In about 1960 I had an 8th grade  social studies teacher in Glens Falls, New York (very upstate NY) who played jazz as we shuffled into his classroom. He played Brubeck, Erroll Garner, Henry Mancini and others.  That was it.  I was hooked.  These became my first LP record albums.  A couple of years later my dad drove me to see Brubeck live in a concert near Albany NY, while he waited for me outside.  I’ve been a solid fan ever since, fending off friends who think the only real jazz to be had has to be composed and played by a black musician. His music takes me to a time of wonder and imagining in my own life, with music as its underpinning. My most recent encounter w Brubeck was at a concert a couple of years ago at Sanders Theater.  He was still the mainstay, but so clearly and generously gave the stage to others. I love how he combines classical, jazz, and world influences.

  • Scott B

    He was perfect.  He was groundbreaking and experimental without getting lost in “freeform” jazz that had no cohesion. A true pioneer and the consummate musician.

    • Scott B

      Glad my comment got in the on-air discussion.  To each their own, for those that like free-form, but to quote Chuck Berry, “Can you hum it?”  I listened to Dave because my father used to play him often, and I’d find Dave’s tunes stuck in my head as much as the rock artists I had influencing me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2042057 Matthew McCabe

    My first composition teacher, Anne Kish, was a classmate of Brubeck’s at Mills College — they both studied with Darius Milhaud.  I always considered Milhaud a huge influence on me (I have a Ph.D. in composition), but Brubeck, too.  Milhaud is my artistic grandfather, and Brubeck is my cool uncle.

  • Roy-in-Boise

    A few years ago I was able to take my daughters to see Dave at the Gene Harris Jazz Festival at Boise State. We had cheap seats which turned out to be the best. We were about 15 feet above Dave in the balcony looking down at him playing the piano combined with the big screen monitors above… we had the best possible vantage point in the house!

  • Bob Hunter

    would we have the Modern Jazz Quartet without Brubeck leading the way?

  • nickribush

    In 1960 Dave Brubeck came to Melbourne (Oz). He had apparently agreed to give a lunchtime talk at the Melbourne University Students’ Union. As secretary of the Rhythm (Jazz) Club, I had to pick him up from his downtown hotel, drive him to the uni, and after his talk drive him back. I don’t know what was going on for him but he really didn’t want to be there. It was extremely difficult to make conversation…when I tried, his replies were mostly monosyllabic. I don’t remember much about the actual talk but my one hour’s personal time with him was very uncomfortable. Maybe it was me; maybe it was jetlag…whatever, my memory of him is as very unfriendly.

  • http://twitter.com/dvogz Daniel Vogelzang

    Dave did a free two-man show at Skidmore College with his son, Chris, while Chris was an artist-in-residence, teaching trombone. I consider a special privilege to have hear and seen them perform together.

    One special memory was Dave’s explanation and story about his song “Marion McPartland” – he was able to teach us more about timing and rhythm in that song than we would have gotten in most classes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=745185020 Cory Heaton

    I’m not a musician in anyway, but in high school I first listened to Dave Brubeck. I have listened to Brubeck and jazz ever since. Part of me always hoped I might I get to see him. I heard he was composing music still.  I might not get to see him, but I will forever listen to him.

  • MHinVT

    When I was a teenager, I was asked out on a first date to go see Dave Brubeck in Hartford CT.  I mentioned it to my Mom and explained that I had never heard of Dave Brubeck.  Her response was, “I don’t care WHO asked you out.  You HAVE to go hear Dave Brubeck!”  So I went.  It was a fabulous concert and I became a big fan. (The first date also turned into a great relationship for many years, so thanks to the Dave Brubeck Quartet for that!)

  • Isernia

    What a relief to have jazz in the late l950′s when I was in college..in RI meant I could easily get to the first Newport Jazz Festival to hear the great Dave Brubeck while ignoring the bad rock and roll music my classmates were listening to.
      Move ahead to my old age..just moved to Buffalo when heard Bobby Milatello at an outdoor jazz concert at the Albright -Knox art museum….how privileged I have been over so many years to be within view of these two accomplished musicians.

  • j274246

    Tom, Thank you so much for your show. We were sad that Dave was unable to make his set at Newport this year and, of course, we’re devastated by his death. Your beautiful celebration of his life, his music and his impact on modern music brought tears to my eyes. Thanks to your guests as well. My only complaint is that the show ended many hours too soon. Thank you again.

  • 1Brett1

    Bruebeck always seemed to have a collaborative element in his bands/music…Even in his passing, discussion of his legacy seems to bring folks together on this forum who normally don’t find common ground. Even Ed, in his own myopic way of making all roads lead back to Catholicism, made a contribution, of sorts.

  • 1Brett1

    Excellent show; and, while I don’t know if Gregg Smith’s earlier suggestion for a show on the man had any influence, I think Gregg’s suggestion was a good one.

    Bruebeck’s music influenced my sense of hearing music in different ways, both in melody interpretation and rhythm. 

    Also, his own poor eyesight and struggle with sight reading influenced me. I can sight read drum/bass clef stuff easily, and I can sight read treble clef, although not as well. I have a particular problem with that while playing in a band setting due to very poor eyesight and wanting to play by ear. I consider myself mostly an ear player and one who wishes to physically interact with other band members as we play. I had always felt that, for me, sight reading somehow interfered…Anyway, hearing about Bruebeck’s desire to be an ear player in my growing phase always encouraged my sensibilities and kept me from getting discouraged from playing in certain settings where I felt I couldn’t let loose as well… 

  • Bruce94

    Disqus!

  • Bruce94

    Great show and tribute to an American treasure. Thanks On Point.

  • Frank Fleischer

    When I was a college boy in the early 50′s I “discovered” Dave Brubeck and fell in love with his music. A generation later, my son came home from college and said, “Dad, I just discovered the greatest jazz artist… Dave Brubeck.” A testament to his lasting talent and relevance. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001048219334 Vic Volpe

    Take Five, one of my very first LP’s around 1959/1960.

  • JGC

    I only have a sad tale to tell about my first brush with Dave Brubeck.  I took beginning German in junior high,  and it seemed like every text book had extended passages about Brubeck. It would be broken into two parts, one for “Ingrid” and one for “Hans”, and we would have to practice our pronunciation of German by reading the passages out loud with our partner to our teacher. (In German:)  Do you like the music of Dave Brubeck? I love the music of Dave Brubeck!  Have you heard his latest album?  We all must listen to Dave Brubeck, etc.    Now, I wish I could tell you that  it sparked a keen curiosity in me, who is this Dave Brubeck?! And where can I find his music?  But we never actually heard the music of Dave Brubeck.  I  only listened to Top 40 Casey Kasem for the next five years, and from there I went to university in time to listen to disco for almost five more.

    I told you it was a sad story.  

  • 1Brett1

    There are some excellent programs on Bruebeck on NPR this weekend. Two, in particular (one yesterday and one today, here) have old interviews of him. A Fresh Air interview with him from 1999 is a good one, and Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz (which I listen to religiously) offers a show of both McPartland and Bruebeck exchanging songs and trading solos together throughout. 

    • Mike_Card

      Thanks for recommending those.  I heard Terry Gross’s interview; am constantly awe-stricken by her obsessive dedication to preparation.

      Who else could have gotten Brubeck to reveal that he sang real cowboy songs to his own accompaniment on the uke??

  • http://www.facebook.com/kathleen.howland.33 Kathleen Howland

    wonderful show as always

  • gkellymusic

    Dear Mr. Ashbrook-
    I wanted to thank you for such a wonderful profile you did on the great Dave Brubeck recently.  I Love listening to your
    show, I tune in very regularly although many times I’m listening at night. I wish I had been listening the morning you did this show though because I would
    have loved to call in!!!!

    My Name is Grace Kelly I’m a saxophonist/singer/composer and have grown up in Brookline
    MA. I had a chance to play with Dave Brubeck and his band for the first time in
    2006 when I was 14 years old. We performed together at the Berklee Performance Center and it was absolutely magical.   Growing up my parents played lots of great jazz mixed with Broadway, classical, and
    pop. One of my all time favorite saxophonists was Paul Desmond.  Once I started the saxophone at the age
    of 10 I was introduced to a whole world of new musicians I had never heard before Charlie Parker, Johnny Hodges, Lee Konitz, the list goes on and on.  On my bed stand I use to have a pile of about 10 CD’s and would rotate which one I would listen to as I went to sleep.
    They were my very favorite CD’s and I had a couple of Dave Brubeck’s CD’s there along with a couple of Paul Desmond ones (that he did as a leader. That’sincluding a great one with Gerry Mulligan. I believe it’s called “Two of a
    Kind”) 
    Since I’ve been growing up listening to Dave Brubeck you can imagine how surreal it was getting to play with him and his band. Dave was the sweetest man. He was so
    generous and always had this enthusiasm and curiosity that was infectious.  I remember that night that I was going
    to play with him, I went downstairs to the dressing room and he JUMPED out of his seat and was so excited to see me. He was the best
    A couple years later I was in NYC with my mentor Lee Konitz and we went to see a friend of his play at Roth’s Steakhouse in NYC. I was invited to sit in with
    them and in the second set the great trumpeter Wynton Marsalis walked in!
    Totally random! Anyways, we played the whole second set together and soon after
    Wynton asked me to be part of Obama’s celebration inauguration at the Kennedy Center.  At this great event I
    played on stage with Mr. Brubeck once again. It was such a thrill.
      I also attended the Brubeck Institute when I 13 year and 14 years old.  We not only played Dave’s Music but
    also learned all about his life.  I
    am amazed at not only the musical contributions he brought to this world but also his humanitarian efforts.  It
    was amazing to read how he refused to go play at certain places due to segregation.  He really used his
    music to help change the world. As I tour the world and play my music, I always remember Dave’s influence and remember my big goal.  
    That goal is using my music to help make a difference in the world.
     Anyways, I could go on and on. As you
    can see my relationship with Dave meant a lot to me. I also know Bobby Militello well and Russell.  I
    wish I could have called in to say hi to them! You reminded me that I should send some emails :)
    I feel blessed to have a great relationship with Dave’s Kids. My band has played a few events honoring Dave and his family’s name and I hope to do much more in
    remembering him.
     Thanks so much for your amazing show.  You
    keep it so real and I love your voice and the questions that you ask. As a young person (I’m 20 years old) I can tell you that you truly cross all
    generations!
    I know I wrote you a book, but if you did take the time to read all of it
    Thank you
    Best
    Grace
    http://www.gracekellymusic.com

  • Pingback: RIP Dave Brubeck « Piano Addict

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