I just read that jazz legend Dave Brubeck died today, a day before his 92'd birthday. Brubeck led one of the great jazz ensembles of all time in the Dave Brubeck Quartet, a group whose virtuosity and power reached even me, a relative jazz agnostic. Legendary for breaking boundaries by recording in unusual time signatures, Brubeck and his band made some of the most artistically and commercially successful jazz recordings of all time. Their Time Out
and Time Futher Out
Lps rank with my all time favorites and as I said I'm not a jazz junkie, even if I'm not a jazz illiterate either. Something about their sound just reached out and grabbed people from all walks of life and all tastes. Their masterpiece "Take Five" remains one of the most mysterious and powerful recordings ever made. From Brubeck's driving piano to Paul Desmond's cool alto sax to maybe the greatest drum solo of all time by Joe Morello, it's a track that retains a sense of unpredictability and even danger when you hear it. Every time I listen, it's almost as if it's the first time. And I'll be damned if it didn't become a hit single making the Top 25 in rock and roll and teen pop dominated 1961. It was just that good and then, as today, unlike anything on the radio.
Brubeck also deserves credit for having one of popular music's first integrated ensembles. Bassist Eugene Wright is an African American and an integral part of the quartet's sound. When parts of the US were trying to decide whether blacks and whites could work alongside one another on equal terms, Brubeck's group proved they not only could they work together but they could do it very well.
Like all his group except for Desmond, Brubeck enjoyed a long life. Morello passed a little more than a year ago. And Wright survives.
But just because death is inevitable doesn't mean we can't mourn the passing of a true American original. RIP. My writing here focuses on a small part of Brubeck's decades long career if one our jazz aficionados would like to fill in some of the blanks on the rest of his career, which was good enough to land him on the cover of Time
in 1954, that would be swell.
Last edited by likethebike on Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:58 am, edited 1 time in total.