— 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.
— 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”.
Now, if you insist that I’d feature Paul Desmond’s Take Five, I’d recommend you’d go to the comments section ;)
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: