Thursday, December 06, 2012

RIP Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck has passed away, aged 91. Read the NY Times obituary here.

"Dave Brubeck, a pianist and composer whose distinctive mixture of experimentation and accessibility made him one of the most popular jazz musicians of the 1950s and ’60s, died Wednesday morning in Norwalk, Conn. He would have turned 92 on Thursday. He died while on his way to a cardiology appointment, Russell Gloyd, his producer, conductor and manager for 36 years, said. Mr. Brubeck lived in Wilton, Conn...

"... In 1958, as part of a State Department program that brought jazz as an offer of good will during the cold war, his quartet traveled in the Middle East and India, and Mr. Brubeck became intrigued by musical languages that didn’t stick to 4/4 time — what he called “march-style jazz,” the meter that had been the music’s bedrock. The result was the album “Time Out,” recorded in 1959. With the hits “Take Five” (composed by Mr. Desmond in 5/4 meter) and “Blue Rondo à la Turk” (composed by Mr. Brubeck in 9/8), the album propelled Mr. Brubeck onto the pop charts...."

"... Genial as Mr. Brubeck could seem, he had strong convictions. In the 1950s he had to stand up to college deans who asked him not to perform with a racially mixed band (his bassist, Gene Wright, was black). He also refused to tour in South Africa in 1958 when asked to sign a contract stipulating that his band would be all white. With his wife as lyricist, he wrote “The Real Ambassadors,” a jazz musical that dealt with race relations. With a cast that included Louis Armstrong, it was released on LP in 1962 but staged only once, at that year’s Monterey Jazz Festival..."

ADDED Dave Brubeck's impact on New Zealand musicians, by Chris Bourke...."the Maori welcomes had a big impact on him [Brubeck]. After the tour, he wrote a piece in 6/4 called ‘Maori Blues’, which was on his Time Further Outalbum, the 1961 sequel to Time Out (the ‘Take Five’ album)..."

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