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Wednesday, 05 December 2012


My favorite http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=faJE92phKzI

I saw the obit in the NYT this morning. Very sad, but Dave was in his 90s, so at least he had a good long run (plus, he and his wife, Iola, made it to their 70th wedding anniversary -- isn't that amazing?). He leaves behind a lot of fine music.

"Time Out" is definitely the place to start for the new Brubeck listener; after that I would suggest "Jazz at Oberlin", "Jazz Impressions of New York", and "Dave Digs Disney". The early recordings of the Dave Brubeck Octet from the 1940s are also very interesting: you basically get to hear a bunch of very talented university music students at work, showing the influence of their mentor, Darius Milhaud (whose work is also worth seeking out).

Whata savage blow to learn of the passing of Dave Brubeck. I met and photographed around the 70s when he did a tour to Oz. Unbeknown to him he had been a pivotal influence on my life.

In the first year of high school we got a new music teacher. We had endured a staple diet of Greensleeves and 19th Century English folk songs and this guy told us to sit up straight, close our books and listen to this. He then attempted to explain in terms 12 year olds could digest just how novel 5/4 time was. I doubt I understood much of what he said but my life had been transformed forever.

It's a sad day for Jazz lovers.
'Take Five' has been haunting me ever since I was a young boy. Guess it's time to cherish my 'Time Out' 180g-vinyl copy.
R. I. P., Dave Brubeck.

I've got an iPod connector in my car, with Time Out and Time Further Out on it. I was listening to Unsquare Dance today, not realizing that Mr. Brubeck had died. There's very little music on that iPad performed by people still with us.

Thanks so much for the heads up--not on his death but on the 5-CD Dave Brubeck set. I don't usually buy CDs, preferring vinyl, but 5 CDs for less than $15.00 was a painless purchase.

So sad such a loss, 'Cuda introduced me to Brubeck so many years ago. Happy/Sad. Glad you found him no matter when, only that you did. b

Dave Brubeck is responsible for my lifelong interest in jazz. When I was a teenager living overseas the jazz show on Armed Forces Radio used Take Five as its theme. I could not get enough. I got to see him live a few years ago. He was still a great player.

Thank you. Got it.

What a significant life! But rather than mourn his passing we should celebrate his accomplishments. I know I'm going to listen to some of his music in the next few days.

Dear Mike,


Plus, vis this week's column, I needed to order the latest Love and Rockets: New Stories No. 5 ( http://www.amazon.com/Love-Rockets-New-Stories-Vol/dp/1606995863/ref=pd_sim_b_6 )
so I qualified for free shipping.

pax / Ctein

I've been a Brubeck fan since high school. I've a couple of suggestions.

1.) I found a near-mint original copy of the 1963 2-LP set "At Carnegie Hall" at a thrift store a few years ago. It's a wonderful live performance.


2.) Martin Scorsese's miniseries "The Blues" from 2003 or so includes an episode by Clint Eastwood titled "Piano Blues". Among the interviews is a nice piece with Dave. Ray Charles fans should also view this episode.


Thankfully, CD's "Perfect Sound Forever" shall help preserve the Brubeck. I read an interesting suggestion somewhere of stringing the words "burrito" and "taco" together to get a better understanding of the odd time signatures. Burrito, burrito, taco, taco, taco...

Dear Mike,


Plus, vis this week's column, I needed to order the latest Love and Rockets: New Stories No. 5 ( http://www.amazon.com/Love-Rockets-New-Stories-Vol/dp/1606995863/ref=pd_sim_b_6 )
so I qualified for free shipping.

pax / Ctein

Everyone probably remembers Brubeck from Take Five although it was actually written by Paul Desmond (sax).

Taking nothing from Mr Brubeck though. He had the crazy idea of doing an album of odd time signatures and penned some amazing tunes (including my favorite, Blue Rondo a la Turk). He also led a quartet that I have been listening to ever since I heard my brother's recording of Time Out aged 12.

I always loved the way they combined minimalist simplicity with real intellectual sophistication, creating something both uniquely accessible and deeply satisfying.

If Miles Davis was a good smokey single malt, Brubeck was the perfect martini.

I saw him play last year at the Berks Festival in Reading. He was already 89 then. Someone had to help him get to his piano, but once he started playing, he was still very much an amazing performer. I saw the HCB exhibit in Chicago last year, too, and at both , it was inspiring to see the results of a lifetime of devotion to a single artistic pursuit. Dave will be missed.

Like some other commenters, I first heard the Dave Brubeck Quartet when I was a kid, and I was hooked. The rest of my life was influenced to some degree by that experience. I was lucky enough to see/hear the quartet live, in 1972, when Gerry Mulligan was a member of it. And Paul Desmond showed up that night to join in as a guest/alumnus! Saw the Dave and his then-current quartet again in around 2003, and he still could swing his ass off! The world's a poorer place now that he's gone (as is equally true of Desmond and Mulligan), but what a richer place it is because he (and they) lived. RIP Mr. Brubeck.

Brubeck...a great, great artist. His music has informed my perception for decades.

A friend in my music class a thigh school introduced me to Mr. Brubeck's Time Out. My friend's father was the high school music teacher at the time, so it is of little wonder that
his coronet playing son would take to Brubeck. Over time collected all of Brubeck's vinyl and still have them in pristine condition. Each disk has been recorded once to audio cassette and later to compact disc and later transcribed from the CD to an Apple Shuffle.

I didn't go any further in my high school music; being more than just a little odd ended up playing a pipe organ for fun as opposed in a staid church setting as opposed to the conglomeration of wonderful sounds produced by Bruebeck and his kind.

All the good music masters are passing us by and leaving...

"I grew up on rock and came to jazz late, like a longtime Catholic converting to Buddhism" - that, mate, is pure poetry.


This is a short video worth seeing. I'll miss Brubeck.


T Bishop,
That's great, thanks.


It was literally just yesterday that I was thinking of Dave Brubeck and how marvelous it was that he was still around, still playing.
And then today he's not.


Strange Meadowlark was the first serious piece of music I learned on the piano when I was a teenager. It truly marked the beginning of a new appreciation of music for me.

Mike, first of all, it's a relief to see that you're back in harness again.

Brubeck's obituary in the Guardian mentions that he died on his way to a cardiology appointment. So be warned: going to see your physician is hazardous and may endanger your health!

By coincidence, another beacon of modernity died today: Oscar Niemeyer, the chief architect of Brasilia. At the even riper age of 104! In my mind, for reasons unfathomed, Brubeck's music of the late '50s and early '60s has always been intertwined with the visual impression of Brasilia, second perhaps only to Paul Desmond's own superb Bossa Antigua of 1964 (with Gene Wright, Jim Hall, and Connie Kay).

A strange note: I was re-digitising an old copy of "Jazz at Oberlin" tonight. That battered LP is one of my testbed records when tweaking the ADC setup or experimenting with new software (in this case, Rob Robinson's new release of Pure Vinyl 3.11a). While exchanging cables, I switched on the radio news: the first item was the death of Dave Brubeck.
(I am impervious to believing in anything supernatural, but we are impressionable beings, ill equipped to estimate the statistical probability of simple coincidences, so the moment was eery.)

I live and breathe jazz. With the exception of some occasional NPR news, my radio streams nothing but. Dave Brubeck is among those whose work I deeply admire and enjoy. However, to get a sense of the man's true greatness, watch this short video segment:


Of course I had heard Take Five growing up and loved it. But one day at a yard sale I bought a EXC- copy of the album for a grand total of 50¢ ... Canadian.

Not only the rest of the music, but the audio quality, blew me away. I still can't decide if I like Blue Rondo a la Turk or Waltz for Debby the best.

RIP Dave, and thank you so much.

Some of my absolutely favourite music. Chapeau to a great Jazz icon.

what's a CD?
try this

A sad day indeed...Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond's music have become part of my life...hardly a week passes without enjoying one of their pieces...can't seem to tire of his Alive in Wonderland and Indian Summer albums...just this morning, I started the day with his sensitive rendition of "You'll never know"...only to find out through this blog...that he is gone ...

Rest in peace Dave and thank you for touching us with your music!

Like some others above, and unlike you, Mike, I started up on jazz and then moved into rock. Brubeck was not one of my heroes---I was more of a dixieland kid first before my teens, until I discovered Monk when I was about 13, and from there on it was all hard bob and avant-garde for me. Ear-bending, tough stuff.

But I did have one Brubeck double album, a reissue thing. It introduced me to both Paul Desmond---no one has prettier tone on alto sax the he did---and Gerry Mulligan the great baritone player. There were some things on it that seemed gimmicky to me, but then there were some really wonderful things. In particular a composition called "Bluette", from the third album "Time Further Out", which haunted me then and still does today---one of the loveliest jazz pieces you'll ever hear.

Mainly to me Brubeck had this interesting sound that expressed a lot of things about a certain part of that late '50's early '60's period in America that was the optimistic side of the period, as opposed to say, Mingus' much darker and raw take on things, or Cecil Taylor's acerbity. It was a sunny, sophisticated sound that had you imagining you were lunching at the Four Seasons, and forgetting about the race situation and the burgeoning war. And it was indeed a unique sound while it lasted.


Thanks for the tip ont he boxed set. A collateral benefit for TOP visitors not familiar with Dave Brubeck will be their introduction to Paul Desmond.
I'm not sure just how many people that will effect as I assume most TOP faithful already know about the Dave Brubeck Quartet. RIP Mr Brubeck.

Saw a good film last night.: Silver Linings Playbook. Hung around to see who did the great jazz version of song from West Side Story, it was Brubeck. They are playing a nice interview of him on Bob Edwards/ Sirius radio today. ( prob available online. ) Desmond was HUGE as well.

in the subcontinent a year ago was when i first heard of Mr. Brubeck.


Just followed the link to the old video on YouTube. Below it was a version of Take Five by George Benson. Two different types of musicians, both incredible in their own right. Benson paid homage to Brubeck with his playing. I wonder if Mr. Brubeck would have liked Benson's version. Methinks he would.

Although I grew up listening to rock and country music, I was aware of and listened to the music of three jazz musicians: Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk and Dave Brubeck. Whereas Miles drifted into others musical areas outside my taste and Monk died much too young, Brubeck remained a constant through the years. Even though he composed in other genres, his music always felt familiar to me. The music will always be with us.

Almostinfamous: thank you. very interesting.

Dave Brubeck did for jazz what.... well, I can't really think of a comparison, what the Beatles did for guitars? One Brubeck story I loved was told me by a friend who produced a concert by him back in the 70's in Austin. It being a go-out kind of town and Saturday evening, they went up to his hotel room right after the show to see whether he wanted to go for dinner. He came to the door in his robe and pajamas, holding the evening paper. He'd figured out how to survive on the road.....

Jazz at Oberlin was the first jazz record I ever heard. I still remember the green cover. I'm not sure why my Dad had a copy, as his record collection was heavy on Herb Albert, JP Sousa, and Strauss, but it sure was a nice record to listen too.

I have a couple of jazz stations on Pandora that get a lot of play in our house, particularly a Bill Evans station and a "Take Five" station.

Thanks for the tip on the Time box set. Just ordered it from CDUniverse.

I was fortunate to see Brubeck at a concert about 10 years ago in Scottsdale AZ. It seem to take forever for him to take his seat at the piano, but once he got there,... wow. He came to life at the keyboard. Gave his sons a real run during the performance.

Mikal - i am glad you found it of interest! Cheers!

I am a Jazz lover from India, I have been hearing & enjoying Dave Brubeck since the fifties as I was thoroughly hooked on his music. My school started at 10.30AM & the Jazz Hour on Radio Ceylon would start at 9.45AM & end at 10AM so as soon as the music ended I would rush to catch my bus to school. In those days Brubeck was my most favourite, a new sound indeed quite subdued & not to too loud! I then started buying his LP's and also later on when I joined the Merchant Navy I would buy my Jazz LP's from abroad especially Japan where the latest music was always available, including later on, Joe Zawinul of "Weather Report" fame who also I miss terribly. My great Jazz artists are leaving me & its a sad feeling. May God rest their souls in peace, Amen!

- Khushroo Dholoo

I miss him terribly

For all those who've never heard it, here's a nice remake of the song.

Minoru Muraoka, a japanese shakuhachi player.

BBC Radio 4 interviewed Dave Brubeck in Autumn 2010. They've replayed the 30 minute interview, "Brubeck at 90," and it can be listened to again, via their website, until Saturday the 15th of December.


I'm a little late to the comments, but I must say something here. Dave Brubeck was among my very favourite musicians. I'm only 39, but his music towered over that of my own era. I'd heard "Take Five" somewhere as a child and searched for the music for years. Finally a local radio station played it and told me who it was. I was ecstatic and immediately began buying his albums. They're still in heavy rotation in my house. They always will be. Thanks Dave, for everything.

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