R.I.P. DAVE BRUBECK (1920 – 2012)

— Preface —

This now updated article was meant to get posted on Dave Brubeck’s 92nd Birthday.

It became an obituary, because the master musician has left this world yesterday, on December 5, 2012.

R.I.P. great man Dave Brubeck.

He was one of the folks who opened my ears to jazz, one of my heroes. I’m very glad that I could hear him in person. He lived a good life, and he was a very brave man because he was an active fighter against any kind of discrimination.

His music will live on.

God bless Dave Brubeck.

Somewhere from the excellent album Bernstein Plays Brubeck Plays Bernstein (1960) with Paul Desmond (as), Dave Brubeck (p), Gene Wright (b), Joe Morello (d) – NYC, February 14, 1960.DaveBrubeck_WestSideStory_MyCover

— Here now the article
from December 6, 2007, slightly altered —

Dave Brubeck meant a lot to me when I was 17. — He, George Shearing and Glenn Miller represent my first jazz influences since their music seemed to be not too complicated.

When I’m listening to Dave Brubeck now, I know of course that my young self was wrong:

His concept is quite intellectual and not too easy to understand when you’re digging deeper into his arrangements and improvisations.

I heard him in Cologne some years ago and he played fantastic! When he appeared on stage, my first impression was that of a very old and shaky man. But as soon as he sat down at the piano, that impression vanished completely.

His technical skills were still there, and he partly swung even more than in 1960 when he had reached the peak of his powers. I immediately recognized that this man had never stopped working on his technique.

A great musician, a timeless performer, all in all: Americana at its very best!

It’s a pity that especially “Take Five”, or “Blue Rondo À La Turk” overshadow so many other beautiful compositions like “Kathy’s Waltz”, or “Far More Blue”; and versions of standards like “I’m In A Dancing Mood”, or “The Trolley Song”.DaveBrubeckQuartet_TimeFurtherOut_a

Now, if you insist that I’d feature Paul Desmond’s Take Five, I’d recommend you’d go to the comments section 😉





Far More Blue
(from the LP Time Further Out, 1961)

Feel free to listen first to the initial version, the forerunner to the beautiful arrangement by the Dave Brubeck Quartet of…

I’m In A Dancing Mood – Jack Leonard with Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra
(1936, from LP)

I’m In A Dancing Mood – Dave Brubeck Quartet
(studio version from 1962, LP-transfer)

And here we go with Paul Desmond (as), Dave Brubeck (p), Gene Wright (b) & Joe Morello (d), Berliner Jazztage, 1966:

— P.S. —

The following “Bru’s Sport In 5/4 Time” is my personal dedication piece for the DBQ and their wonderful music which had such an influence on the evolution of jazz; last but not least on jazz as concert music. — It’s that short because it was used for a brief sequence in a documentary:

This entry was posted in Dave Brubeck, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Obituary, Paul Desmond, Portrait. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to R.I.P. DAVE BRUBECK (1920 – 2012)

  1. Brew says:

    You’re so right, folks, when you request that classic to be posted here. Well, I give you Paul Desmond’s Take Five, but I’m gonna post only four quickly available renditions of that all time Dave Brubeck hit.

    Paul Desmond (as) Dave Brubeck (p) Gene Wright (b) & Joe Morello (d) on the first three clips.

    So, take five or more cocktails, sit back and relax.

    Here’s #1 from 1961:

    And here’s #2 from 1966:

    #3 is the best, also from 1966:

    The last one I’ve watched quasi ‘live’ on German TV:

    P.S. #1: Only sound, but what a sound!

    P.S. #2: And for those who still can’t count to five, here’s one of Joe Morello’s excellent drum solos on “Take Five”:

  2. Brew says:

    More on “Take Five” can be found at Doug Ramsey’s Rifftides.

    Here are two original quotes by its composer Paul Desmond (Dave said it was merely a collaboration… Yes, it surely was – what would be “Take Five” without this stellar drum solo by Joe Morello, and the steady, rock solid fundament, provided by Eugene Wright on bass? – But the melody is nevertheless all PD. — Yet, if we can believe Marc Myers, and what he stated in his obituary, Dave Brubeck seemed to be disappointed not to be mentioned as co-composer. So be it. — Most folks combine “Take Five” with Dave Brubeck’s name anyway, which can be considered as poetic justice):

    “I had the middle part kind of vaguely in mind. I thought, “We could do this, but then we’d have to modulate again and we’re already playing in 5/4 and six flats, and that’s enough for one day’s work. Fortunately, we tried it, and that’s where you get the main part of the song.”

    “At the time, I thought it was kind of a throwaway. I was ready to trade in the entire rights of “Take Five” for a used Ronson electric razor.”

    Dave Brubeck’s own words about “Take Five” can be heard in Part 4 of an interview with DB at Marc Myers’ JazzWax, and a lot of excellent photos ’round DB can be watched THERE as well.

    “Senator” Eugene J. Wright, the man who laid the foundation 4 de 4🙂

  3. Brew says:

    Here’s yet another take of “Take Five”, namely “Take Five” a la Pakistan, also found at “Rifftides” 🙂

    And this video with the DBQ, embedded in a post to DB’s 90th at Doug’s “Rifftides”, too: Take 90: Brubeck At The Blackhawk

  4. Brew says:

    Here comes more “DR-on-DB”, but a friendly exploitation.

    Those videos are so excellent that you really should take more than five… minutes to watch them:

    Brubeck & Company In Belgium, Part 1

    Brubeck & Company In Belgium, Part 2

    Brubeck & Company In Belgium, Part 3

    Brubeck & Company In Belgium, Part 4

    Brubeck & Company In Belgium, Part 5

    Though the video with “Take Five” seems to be gone, here’s the DVD @anazoom

  5. Brew says:

    Two Lines For Nine Lions: Brubeck, Desmond, Mulligan, Six & Dawson; Claasen, Menu, van de Geyn & Engels.

  6. Twist of Fate says:

    Take 5 joke ;), if you don’t mind, by the equally immortal George Carlin:
    “You take 5 white guys and you take 5 black guys and put em together for a week and what you won’t have is 5 blacks guys talking like, ‘Golly gee, we really won that big basketball game’ but you will have 5 white guys talking like ‘Yo slick, whuzzup…we be shootin hoops and mad playin, slammed those mofos”

  7. MEL says:

    Thanks very, very much. I’ ll miss Dave forever.

  8. He never went to the academy of cool, and nevertheless outsmarted them all. Not the worst way to become legend IMHO.

Comments are closed.