Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is. - Oscar Wilde
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Animation, Art, and Other Shiny Things
My son would agree that jazz is a destructive force and here is the film to prove it.
Neurologists claim that stuck songs are like thoughts we’re trying to suppress. The harder we try not to think about them, the more we can’t help it. The phenomenon is also known as earworms, and the ongoing ‘dim di da da dum’ causes a kind of brain itch you can’t scratch.
Jazz that nobody asked for is an ode to all those unwanted songs out there, that have nowhere to go. The music that haunts this film, is the amazing swing jazz tune ‘Quaker City Jazz’ by the long forgotten ‘Jan Savitt and his Top Hatters’. In 1937 they were the first jazz big band to feature an african american vocalist.
Take the A Train (written by Billy Strayhorn) with his quartet:
As a bonus (a rogue within a rogue. a rogue inception, as it were), here is a recording of Mr Brubeck with Wynton Marsalis at the Newport Jazz Festival playing Blues for Newport.
Mr Marsalis is another one of my favorite jazz men as he is a student of his art. It’s musicians like him that will pass along the pieces Mr Brubeck added to jazz to the next generation of jazz musicians.
Your (semi-regular) Friday rogue video(s) are breaking from animation today to continue a celebration of Dave Brubeck’s work. While we’ll miss the man, the footprints he left on jazz won’t allow us to forget him too soon at all. Thankfully, in my opinion.
This is a 1964 performance of Koto Song from his 1964 album Jazz Impressions of Japan. Mr Brubeck is joined by the ubiquitous saxaphonist Paul Desmond, Eugene Wright on bass, and Joe Morello on drums.
I just read of Dave Brubeck‘s passing today. He was 91 years old.
Tomorrow, his 92nd birthday, was to have been marked by a concert in Waterbury, Connecticut. It will still go on, but as a tribute and, undoubtedly, a celebration of a jazz icon. You see, Mr Brubeck not only brought a lot to jazz, but he brought jazz to a lot of people. He played with jazz, and had so much fun with it that we could do nothing except enjoy it. Dave Brubeck changed jazz and changed the way we listened to it.
Two years ago tomorrow, when he turned 90, I posted a short bio of his college days and slide into jazz as well as a video of Take Five (with his long-time sax-man paul desmond). Please check it out. The Chicago Tribune has a nice write-up as well.
Mr Brubeck most famously played around with time signatures and here is a great example:
First track from the best Dave Brubeck album Time Out. The name comes from the 9/8 Turkish rhythms as 2+2+2+3 and 3+3+3 which are played consecutively in this piece.
Leitmotif is the story of the last lonely member of a jazz band, only living through his music and the daily visits of a white cat. One day the nostalgia takes over — and he has a crazy idea.
By Jeanette Nørgaard, Marie Thorhauge, Marie Jørgensen, and Mette Ilene Holmriis
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.