Dave Brubeck, still groovin’ at 90
December 6, 2010
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In honor of Dave Brubeck’s 90th birthday today his most notable work; “Take Five”. The tune was actually written by Paul Desmond, saxophonist and long-time band mate. (playing the sax in this clip, as a matter of fact)
Brubeck has been a prolific composer over the years and played alot with odd time signatures in his music. Don’t worry if you don’t know the term, you’ll recognize it when you hear it. “Time Out” is a record full of examples.
I’m kinda partial to his Late Night’s at the Blue Note albums and the Charlie Brown tunes, but his 60-some year career has gems buried all the way through it.
He almost became a Veterinarian…
…but transferred on the urging of the head of zoology, Dr Arnold, who told him “Brubeck, your mind’s not here. It’s across the lawn in the conservatory. Please go there. Stop wasting my time and yours.” Later, Brubeck was nearly expelled when one of his professors discovered that he could not read music. Several of his professors came forward, arguing that his ability with counterpoint and harmony more than compensated. The college was still afraid that it would cause a scandal, and agreed to let Brubeck graduate only after he promised never to teach piano.
I certainly hope the irony was not lost on his professors as Brubeck’s career progressed…
Dave Brubeck also stood up for his fellow musicians. The Dave Brubeck Quartet was integrated and some clubs owners didn’t like it. (this was back before the civil rights laws of 1964) He canceled his concerts at their clubs, as well as a TV appearance when he found out the black musicians in his band would be left off-camera.
Go here for a great article on a concert he did just last week at the Blue Note, then pop on over to Youtube and watch some great videos of one of the great musicians of all time.