[Standing tall with a flowing salt-and-pepper mane, Dave Brubeck had a broad smile and was quick to laugh when I met him in the fall of 1978 at publicist Peter Levinson's New York office for this interview. He was enjoying his tour with the New Brubeck Quartet, the group he formed with his sons. He reminisced about his earliest days in music and his duet recordings with Paul Desmond, and he proudly recalled some compliments he'd gotten over the years from his musical heroes.] The first challenge of a jazz performer," says pianist Dave Brubeck, is to ...read more
Dave Brubeck QuartetTime OutColumbia1959 As the authors of The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (Penguin, 1992-2008) observed, pianist Dave Brubeck's Time Out has become so familiar that no one actually hears what's going on anymore." The album is one of two masterpieces made in 1959 sharing that fate. The other is trumpeter Miles Davis' Kind of Blue (Columbia). But Brubeck's album has suffered the most. Davis' studied cultivation of his image, along with such spurious qualifications for hipsterdom as his bouts of heroin and cocaine addiction, mean that ...read more
Dave Brubeck/Paul DesmondThe Quintessence (1948-1959)Fremeaux & Associes.2009 Sachal Studios OrchestraTake FiveSachal Music2009 Quartet San FranciscoQSF Plays BrubeckViolinJazz2009 Dave Brubeck/Paul Desmond1975: The DuetsA&M-Verve2009 Dave Brubeck QuartetJazz at Oberlin Fantasy/OJC-Concord2009 Hail, Brubeck! Most recently David Warren (Dave) Brubeck added Kennedy Center Honors to the acclamation he has received for his contributions as composer, performer and ...read more
The music of pianist Dave Brubeck has been cherished throughout the world since the mid 1950s. While he's written orchestral, choral and sacred work, his most familiar are jazz tunes like Strange Meadowlark," Blue Rondo A La Turk," Three To Get Ready," Unsquare Dance" and that mega-hit Take Five," written by his band mate, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, and forever linked to Brubeck. This repertoire has been played and recorded a zillion times by admiring jazz musicians, and it's strong enough to generate multiple incarnations. Here are two delightful examples.
Quartet San Francisco Quartet San ...read more
The year 1959 could easily go down as the one of most important years in the history of recorded jazz. In addition to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue (Columbia), it saw the release of the Dave Brubeck Quartet's groundbreaking LP Time Out. Columbia Records got the risky inclination to release the album's third track, the Paul Desmond-penned title song, as a single and it went on to become the first jazz single to sell one million copies. Despite the fact that Take Five" might be one of the top three most-recognized jazz recordings ever, the album's history ...read more
Dave Brubeck QuartetOn The Radio: Live 1956-57Acrobat2009 Liam Noble TrioBrubeckBasho2009 Dave Brubeck occupies a unique spot in jazz--a living legend that has enjoyed both commercial success and critical acclaim (albeit meandering) throughout his nearly six-decade career. Brubeck, along with longtime sparring partner alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, were the one-two punch behind a quartet that constantly pushed boundaries (offbeat time signatures, simultaneous multiple keys) and played within them (progenitors of West Coast cool jazz) to ...read more
One of the paradoxes of jazz is that the individual is highly valued, yet iconoclasts are often undervalued, either by critics or audiences. Pianist Dave Brubeck has had no trouble attracting fans over more than half a century, but critics have been less embracing, often saying he doesn't swing. Brubeck became wildly popular in the '50s, when his quartet with alto saxophonist Paul Desmond pioneered jazz concerts at colleges. Students then were familiar with classical music--music appreciation classes were still taught--so Brubeck's counterpoint and Bach references were familiar (more so than to the average jazz fan), while ...read more