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RIP Jazz master Dave Brubeck.
December 5, 2012 9:54 AM   Subscribe

I am devastated to read that jazz master and Kennedy Center honoree Dave Brubeck has died. His influence on jazz was wide and profound. His frequent collaborator and the composer of one of the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s best known tunes, “Take Five,” Paul Desmond, said of the sound of his alto sax, “"I think I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to sound like a dry martini." Brubeck was well-known for his use of differing time signatures, again referencing “Take Five” which was in 5/4 time and another example, “Blue Rondo a la Turk,” in 9/8 time. Desmond passed away in 2005, and Brubeck has left the earthly plain to join him in the Heavenly Jazz Band. RIP. (MLYT)
posted by Lynsey (182 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by Aquaman at 9:55 AM on December 5, 2012 [11 favorites]



posted by dabug at 9:55 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, it is very sad, but the man was going to turn 92 tomorrow. That's a good run.
posted by thelonius at 9:56 AM on December 5, 2012 [16 favorites]


What a long and productive and influential life. His memory will live on!
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:56 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oops. sorry, that second link should have been his wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Brubeck. Apologies for my poor formatting.
posted by Lynsey at 9:56 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Rory Marinich at 9:56 AM on December 5, 2012 [14 favorites]


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posted by kinnakeet at 9:56 AM on December 5, 2012


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Saw him live a few years ago in New York City. Even then, in his late eighties, he radiated musical energy and gave a solid performance.
posted by oneironaut at 9:57 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just heard about his death on NPR.

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posted by Thorzdad at 9:57 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Philofacts at 9:58 AM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by jadepearl at 9:58 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by HumanComplex at 9:58 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by PuppyCat at 9:59 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by drezdn at 10:00 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Bwithh at 10:00 AM on December 5, 2012


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and you experts out there, can we hear something that wasn't on his greatest hits album?
posted by philip-random at 10:01 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by graymouser at 10:01 AM on December 5, 2012


Paul Desmond died in 1977, not 2005!

You should also mention their drummer Joe Morello, who died last year - and their bassist Eugene Wright who is apparently the last one left... (the quartet had a varied lineup but those are the most famous four...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:01 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by Renoroc at 10:02 AM on December 5, 2012


Oh, that's too bad. Love Dave Brubeck.
My first exposure to him was probably through the use of "Unsquare Dance" on this commercial for Premium Plus Crackers back in the early '80's.
R.I.P.
posted by chococat at 10:02 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by jquinby at 10:03 AM on December 5, 2012


Oh, and I'm playing a 2001 live Brubeck concert on my radio station right now if you are interested, and then after that I'll probably play the whole Time Out album (the quartet's big hit).
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:04 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Take Five" and "Blue Rondo à la Turk" are the first pieces of music I remember hearing as a child. Thankfully his music can live on.

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posted by fuse theorem at 10:04 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by Lutoslawski at 10:04 AM on December 5, 2012


Unsquare Dance.

I'm hip.
posted by mazola at 10:05 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:07 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Egg Shen at 10:07 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by vibrotronica at 10:07 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Faint of Butt at 10:07 AM on December 5, 2012


Who parked the car? 3 4
Who parked the car? 3 4
posted by dobie at 10:08 AM on December 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


I love it that at the end of the drum solo in the Take Five link, everyone else like "right, back to work". Just another day at the office.
posted by jquinby at 10:09 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bonus points for writing the post title in 9/8.

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posted by emelenjr at 10:09 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]



posted by thivaia at 10:10 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by spitefulcrow at 10:10 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brubeck has left the earthly plain...

planely.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:11 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


.: .: . . .
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:12 AM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by symbioid at 10:12 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:13 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by scody at 10:13 AM on December 5, 2012


I know he wasn't the purist's (or critic's) choice sometimes, but for me, age 10 or so, his music was a gateway drug.
posted by billcicletta at 10:14 AM on December 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


No!

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posted by brundlefly at 10:15 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by jeffkramer at 10:15 AM on December 5, 2012


I'm going to probably write up a longer version of this tonight, but I have to get this off my chest, because Dave Brubeck changed my life.

Several years ago, when I hosted an afternoon jazz radio show, Dave came to town to do some concerts at the university. As a result of my job, I got to spend the better part of a day with him - we hung out at a fancy party one evening, and then the next day he came into the station and co-hosted my show with me.

My hand to god, this was a transformative experience for me, because he was so ... kind. Just utterly human and sweet and kind. I've been around plenty of famous musicians, but had never had this experience, where someone so famous and so big was just another guy, asking me questions about my family, having a two-way conversation. He was nice to me.

When he left that day, it dawned on me: Dave Brubeck was kind to me. Here is a man who stared down racism in the 1950s, and racism blinked. This man is a giant. He is a hero, and a national treasure. And his music? My god, there has never been anything better. And he was kind to me. And that's when I decided, damnit, if Dave Brubeck can be nice and kind to me, nobody has an excuse to not be kind. I am worthy of basic human decency, and so are all the other people around me.

I will forever be grateful for that lesson that he taught me.
posted by jbickers at 10:16 AM on December 5, 2012 [246 favorites]


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posted by ursus_comiter at 10:18 AM on December 5, 2012


I was about 4 years old when I first heard "Blue Rondo a la Turk" and according to my mom I danced around the living room table. I still feel the urge to dance whenever I listen to it. My 3 year old son does the dancing around the table nowadays.

Thanks for all the great music. May you rest in peace dear sir.
posted by elmono at 10:18 AM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


.. .. . .

There's a Time Further Out pun in this somewhere, but it's not coming together.
posted by wanderingmind at 10:18 AM on December 5, 2012


Part of his legacy is his six children, four of whom are professional musicians who have worked with their father and with one another. They surprised him at his Kennedy Center Honors event, performing Blue Rondo.
posted by gladly at 10:21 AM on December 5, 2012 [25 favorites]


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posted by paulus andronicus at 10:21 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by gc at 10:22 AM on December 5, 2012


I was about 4 years old when I first heard "Blue Rondo a la Turk" and according to my mom I danced around the living room table.

Are we the same person? When I was little, there was a lot of dancing around the living room to Brubeck (and Bobby Short, too!). My mom often danced with me.

I feel like another little piece of my childhood is gone, although the music is still here.

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posted by rtha at 10:23 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by cazoo at 10:24 AM on December 5, 2012


From Jazz Impressions Of Japan

Dave Brubeck - Osaka Blues
posted by elmono at 10:25 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by thewalledcity at 10:28 AM on December 5, 2012


Oh my gosh. I absolutely adored him. Sad.
posted by dotgirl at 10:29 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Cash4Lead at 10:30 AM on December 5, 2012


A few years ago I was working at the Virgin Megastore in New Orleans. The second floor is just jazz, New Orleans music, country, blues, Gospel, and world music, and, sadly, is empty most of the time. This was my floor, because I knew about the music. But there wasn't for me to do. Jazzbeaus typically know what they want. The occasional tourist who wants a New Orleans souvenir is happier with a Cajun or Louis Armstrong compilation than with, say, a collection of Popeye songs from the 60s -- a strange dance craze that originated in New Orleans.

But every so often somebody would come in trying to find something. A man cam in one day. He said, I don't know if you can help me. I heard a jazz song on the radio. I don't know anything about it except that it had a saxophone in it.

Is it this, I asked, and then hummed the first few bars of "Take Five."

Yes, he said! How did you know!

It had to be, I said.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:31 AM on December 5, 2012 [35 favorites]


The Brubecks lived in my hometown, Wilton, CT, and David and his sons would come in regularly to talk to and perform with the music department at our high school. He was generous and kind. There was a big bash planned for his 92nd birthday tomorrow to benefit the nonprofit Jazze'd 4 Life which is run by his daughter.
posted by girlhacker at 10:32 AM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:32 AM on December 5, 2012


doodle doodle doodle doodledo doodle doodle doodle doodledo doodle doodle doodle doodledo doodledo doodledo doodledo

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posted by rouftop at 10:34 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by kilo hertz at 10:34 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by juv3nal at 10:35 AM on December 5, 2012


An important figure, whose legacy won't soon be forgotten.

Safe journey, sir.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:35 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


While I haven't appreciated nearly enough of Brubeck's life and work, this has charmed and thrilled me for years:

During a visit to Moscow in the 80's, Brubeck met the faculty and students of the Moscow Conservatory. While improvising on the theme of a Russian folk song, a young man stood up from the audience and accompanied Brubeck on a violin... a beautiful, wordless musical conversation in the depths of the Cold War.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 10:35 AM on December 5, 2012 [50 favorites]


I love(d) Brubeck so much. Time Out was the first album that let me know that jazz was not some scary, esoteric thing, but a genre that was accessible to those willing to give it a try.

I know he was very old, but this loss hurts my heart quite a bit.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:36 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, I don't at all mean to be irreverent or make light of Brubeck's passing, but this tweet from Ken Jennings definitely made me grin:

Is it wrong to be sad that Brubeck died on 12/5 instead of 7/4 or 5/4 or 9/8?
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:37 AM on December 5, 2012 [14 favorites]


Holy shit, that performance from the Kennedy Centre Honors that gladly linked to above is amazing. Do watch it!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 10:38 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]



posted by Smart Dalek at 10:38 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Foosnark at 10:39 AM on December 5, 2012


Who parked the car? 3 4
Who parked the car? 3 4


Interesting way to "feel" it, but it should be who parked the car? 4 5, eh?

I got to see him live in concert only a few years ago, thankfully. I was the youngest person in the crowd, but it was a great crowd to hang with, too. And some lucky kid got to turn pages for him...kid probably didn't even know who it was at the piano only inches away...........
posted by TinWhistle at 10:43 AM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by Navelgazer at 10:44 AM on December 5, 2012



posted by Cranberry at 10:49 AM on December 5, 2012


shiu mai baby: "Is it wrong to be sad that Brubeck died on 12/5 instead of 7/4 or 5/4 or 9/8?"

Flip it around, like the rest of the world does, and it's 5/12. I think I can hear it...

It's very fast
posted by notsnot at 10:50 AM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was very sad to hear this earlier. Dave Brubeck's music has been a constant element in the soundtrack of my life... Time Out and the Greatest Hits record were playing all through my infancy and childhood. I probably heard those albums, albeit muffled, in the womb. Road trips, visits to my grandparents (My dad's dad was a fan as well) - the Dave Brubeck Quartet was just... ubiquitous. As I got older I gained a real intellectual and aesthetic appreciation for his music itself apart from the familiarity and nostalgia.

I still listen to Dave Brubeck all the time. I never stopped... through high school, through college, a cross country move and subsequent move back. I don't think it's a stretch to say that owe a lot of my sense of rhythm and timing to Dave Brubeck and his Quartet's combination of odd time signatures and infectious melodies. They made it sound so easy, but your brain really has to listen, even if you're not aware that you're doing so.

He was a person I would very much like to have met and thanked, or at least seen perform in person.

Not on the Greatest Hits album: Trivia: Take Five is actually a Paul Desmond composition.
posted by usonian at 10:52 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


and you experts out there, can we hear something that wasn't on his greatest hits album?
The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Nostalgia de Mexico
The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Castilian Drums - At Carnegie Hall
The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Bru's Boogie Woogie
posted by elmono at 10:52 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I had the Columbia 45 in high school of Take Five with Blue Rondo a la Turk on the flip. Wore the grooves off both sides. Thanks Dave, Paul, Eugene and Joe...
posted by jim in austin at 10:52 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


My father bought Time Out when it was released, two years before I was born; and it's been part of the soundtrack of my life forever. Thanks, Dave.

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posted by steambadger at 10:52 AM on December 5, 2012


The Moscow clip is fantastic.
posted by jquinby at 10:53 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by homunculus at 10:54 AM on December 5, 2012


That Kennedy Center Honors (the 2009 awards) happened to fall on his 89th birthday--and I just love that the whole thing crescendoes into "Happy Birthday" à la Brubeck.
posted by tzikeh at 10:54 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Take Five" on the Infinite Jukebox
posted by bendybendy at 10:56 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't even know what to say.

the opposite of a tortured genius.. a kind genius.
posted by edgeways at 11:04 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by tommasz at 11:09 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by sfred at 11:09 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by epilnivek at 11:11 AM on December 5, 2012


He was fantastic. :(

YouTube has a nice autogenerated playlist of his music.

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posted by zarq at 11:11 AM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by pemberkins at 11:11 AM on December 5, 2012


A wonderful man indeed. I reviewed (and interviewed) him in the 1960s and 1970s, once or twice when he performed with his famous quartet, and twice when he appeared with his three eldest sons. In my favorite encounter, my friend Dave got him talking about his early days in San Francisco, just after WW II, and his son Darius had to come into the dressing room to get him, saying, “Dad, the governor [of Pennsylvania] is waiting out there to give you some award.”

I remember three things about that conversation: his insistence that although he was known as an intense, hammering pianist, he could play as sensitively as anyone; that he knew someone else (probably Duke Ellington) had deserved to be on the cover of Time magazine 21 years earlier, not him, but he had no control over the editors at Time, so what could he do about it; and — most interesting to me — that back in the 1940s, people thought he was too far out, then by the 1970s, people thought he was too tame, and basically he had been playing the same way the whole time.

Like his famous contemporary Frank Sinatra, also now gone, Brubeck could truly say, “I did it my way.”
posted by LeLiLo at 11:11 AM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


gladly: "Part of his legacy is his six children, four of whom are professional musicians who have worked with their father and with one another. They surprised him at his Kennedy Center Honors event, performing Blue Rondo ."

The look on his face when they introduced them was incredible. Thanks for posting this.
posted by boo_radley at 11:12 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]



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My first exposure to Brubeck was in the eighth grade (1968) when our choral teacher introduced something called "It's a Raggy Waltz" (yes it has lyrics). I was amazed even then how ragged and uneven the phrasing was, and yet it was a pure waltz. I do recommend the earlier stuff from the 50s with Joe Dodge on drums on Fantasy Records. What a trip. A true innovator is gone. Rest in Peace, Dave.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:12 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Ironmouth at 11:15 AM on December 5, 2012


Good on him to have made such sweet music.
posted by Anything at 11:17 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by Anything at 11:18 AM on December 5, 2012


My Time Out cassette got a lot of play time in the family car. It was something my dad and I both loved, so it was like a shared language that bridged generations.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:22 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dave called this performance of Take Five “the most interesting rendition of the track I've ever heard.” I couldn't agree more...
posted by Quasimike at 11:23 AM on December 5, 2012 [13 favorites]


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posted by Iridic at 11:24 AM on December 5, 2012


I almost got to play in a high school All-Star jazz band which was to be led by Dave Brubeck.

I drove to the high school where we were going to rehearse for the first time, and found the place empty. I waited for 1/2 hour or so, and another player drove in. We stood around waiting, and waiting.

At some point, we left and found out the next day that Brubeck had gone in for his triple bypass and the whole thing was scrubbed.

RIP.
posted by tomierna at 11:25 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by detour at 11:25 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by cyclotronboy at 11:26 AM on December 5, 2012


A nice piece from PBS on some of some of his religious compositions.
posted by jquinby at 11:26 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


º
Dave Brubeck was seminal, and largely responsible for beginning my lifelong love of jazz. Thank you, Mr. Brubeck. Take Five as you travel to your next adventure.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:27 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by K.P. at 11:34 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by i_have_a_computer at 11:35 AM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Token Meme at 11:38 AM on December 5, 2012


𝄻
posted by Fezboy! at 11:39 AM on December 5, 2012


Dave Brubeck Quartet - Jazz Pour Tous in Belgium -- a 32 minute set.
posted by boo_radley at 11:39 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tritonis - live 1979

...and there can't be a more appropriate tribute than lyrics direct from Donald Fagen.
posted by mintcake! at 11:41 AM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


I remember watching the Kennedy Center Honors performance with my mother, the one that gladly linked above. Such a great thing. I especially love that you can see Dave mouth the words "Son of a bitch!" when they announce that his sons are going to perform. Both my mother and I got a kick out of that when it happened and it's still funny seeing it again. Like someone posted above, 92 is a hell of a run but it sure is sad to see him go.
posted by friendlyjuan at 11:46 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Very sad news. What a tremendous contribution he made.

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posted by trip and a half at 11:47 AM on December 5, 2012


I'm a very distant relative and I never met him or anything, but I love his music and I have always been (unduly) proud to say "yes" when someone hears my name and asks, "Are you related to Dave Brubeck?"

His tallest son, the cellist, shares my name.
posted by mbrubeck at 11:48 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dig you later Dave. The cosmos resonates the better because of you.
posted by nickyskye at 11:51 AM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


I am absolutely heartbroken. We have lost a real treasure.
posted by stoneweaver at 11:52 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I used to wait tables at a steakhouse that counted among its many sins against God and man a grindingly repetitive playlist showcasing the owner's love for the lesser works of Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Louis Prima. The playlist was exactly 2 hours and fifteen minutes long, on a loop. It was torture. It was death by string section. We called it "being nibbled to death by The Rat Pack". It was every supper club nightmare, complete with creamed spinach and cherries jubilee.

But buried in that mix was "Take Five". And not the three-minute radio edit, the full five-plus minute-long album version. When that song started, you could hear the wait staff sigh in collectively relief. It was our respite.

So thank you, Mr. Brubeck. That one song kept me sane. Perhaps one day I will be able to hear it again without expecting Louis Prima's "Oh Marie" to kick in afterwards.

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posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:53 AM on December 5, 2012 [18 favorites]


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posted by Mittenz at 12:04 PM on December 5, 2012


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posted by ahimsakid at 12:07 PM on December 5, 2012


"Take Five" and "Blue Rondo à la Turk" are the first pieces of music I remember hearing as a child. Thankfully his music can live on.
posted by fuse theorem at 10:04 AM on December 5


Me too. My dad played it excessively on the record player when I was 3 or 4. It's the only album of that era that my dad owned then and I own now. (The Ray Conniff singers, not so much.)

Have it playing in the background now and it's the perfect accompaniment to a misty afternoon. Plus, I feel really cool. You can't be in a room with Blue Rondo a la Turk and not feel cool. It's simply not possible to not feel cool when you hear it.

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posted by mudpuppie at 12:18 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Time Out was one of my absolute favorite records from the collection of the Rock Island Public Library when I was a child, trying to count out the time signature in each piece as it came on.

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posted by ariel_caliban at 12:18 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


and you experts out there, can we hear something that wasn't on his greatest hits album?

When I was a kid I listened to all my mother's Brubeck albums. For some reason, my favourite was Jazz Impressions of Japan, so: Fujiyama.
posted by Grangousier at 12:20 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Someone else alluded to it, but I am convinced the album Time Out was a gateway drug to jazz for generations of people that were used to a 4/4 rock beat.

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posted by furtive at 12:23 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by From Bklyn at 12:27 PM on December 5, 2012


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posted by digitalprimate at 12:32 PM on December 5, 2012


I saw what I already presumed to be an obit package on BBC News a few moments ago.

One of a few passings that still make me exclaim "God DAMN it!" when the reality hits home.

A glass of scotch while your finest plays this evening, good sir.

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posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 12:38 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


TinWhistle, the "four" kind of rhymes with "car", which is illustrative to young musicians as they learn to feel the rhythm of 5/4; That was how I learned to play the tune at 13 in jazz band.
posted by dobie at 12:41 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by SounderCoo at 12:43 PM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Splunge at 12:43 PM on December 5, 2012


Who parked the car? You did.
Who parked the car? You did.
Who parked the car? You did.

posted by Grangousier at 12:45 PM on December 5, 2012 [6 favorites]



posted by droplet at 12:49 PM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Slithy_Tove at 1:03 PM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Joey Michaels at 1:08 PM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Ber at 1:08 PM on December 5, 2012


Immortal.
posted by infini at 1:12 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Take 5, D.

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posted by AJaffe at 1:14 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, this is a huge loss, though (as noted above) he certainly had a good run.

The front and back covers of Jazz Impressions of Eurasia alone make it one of my very favorite LPs in my collection. The pure unalloyed happiness and playfulness of Brubeck's face, the jet age Pan Am vibe of the whole scene.

I still remember having my mind blown as a young'un by the version of The Way You Look Tonight off Jazz at Oberlin. Maybe not an epic performance for the ages, but man, it made me want to learn more. And from discovering Brubeck, off into the catalogs of Cal Tjader and all kinds of other cool jazz / west coast types I'm so glad to have heard.

He'll forever be a towering presence in my own personal history of music exploration.

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posted by theoddball at 1:17 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you haven't seen the part of Ken Burn's Jazz where Brubeck talks about visiting with an old ex-slave as a child and how it made him a champion of of African American music and experiences, watch that whole documentary ASAP.

Here's a quote about Dave and the incident in an old interview with his son Chris.


CB: Well, because of the nature of Dave’s musicianship and the kind of person that he is, it’s made things easier because I’m very proud of what he’s done and what he has stood for. There are certain people in the business, I guess it would be politically correct not to name names, but if they were my famous father and all the stories I heard about them were true, then I’d be embarrassed. (Both laugh.) So I don’t have that problem. And also, in terms of me being a composer, you know, I’m sure I was inspired by seeing all the work that Dave has done to write all the classical music that he’s churned out. There’s a part of you that says “Well, my dad did it, I’ve got it within me, I can do it.” For example, when I look at my parents’ situation, my dad does write ! some lyrics, but mostly the lyrics are written by my mother and the music by my father. Growing up it seemed like “Well, I’ve got both of their genes. Why can’t I write music and lyrics?” So it seems like something natural. Over my career I’ve written for people as diverse as Patti Labelle, Bobby Womack, and Frederica von Stade. I feel very lucky to have come into the world with Dave and Iola as parents. I mean, they’re amazingly talented, smart, giving and kind. Plus they’re not screwed up people. It’s incredible.

JazzMonthly: Yes indeed, and we love ‘em both, let me tell ya. I think I speak for millions around the world when I say that.

CB: Yeah, and that’s another good thing. I mean, at this point, so many people have seen…for example, when Ken Burns had his multi-night series on jazz…

JazzMonthly: Yeah.

CB: Well, actually, Ken Burns himself told me that he thought the emotional center of that entire seven or eight-hour series, is Dave’s talking on the camera about his experience as a kid. When his father, who was a cowboy, introduced him to a former slave and made my father absorb the inhumanity. My Grandpa wanted his son to never forget that injustice. “Okay, I want you to see how horrible slavery is” and Dave saw the scars on this guy’s back. Ken Burns, when he tackles jazz, I mean, he loves jazz, but it’s really like baseball; it’s a metaphor for exploring what American society is. So many people out there, when they saw Dave, the way his vibe and his soul came through, talking in that moment in the show, and breaking down, they said “Geez, for some reason, I guess ‘cause he was so successful, I so! rt of dismissed Dave as a spiritual person.” (Both laugh.) And there was all this reassessment that came out saying “What is it about Dave?” And the only thing I can think of is that it comes with the territory. If you were wildly successful like Take Five was and Time Out the album, and “Blue Rondo,” those tunes, I think your peers generally, if they don’t know you, they tend to create a space for you of “Well, you don’t really deserve it” and something like that. That’s where anyone that gets to know you, they completely say “Oh, I gotta reassess what’s going on here.”

posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:20 PM on December 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


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posted by sa3z at 1:23 PM on December 5, 2012


Listening to "Blue Rondo a la Turk" on repeat right now. So perfect. RIP Mr. Brubeck.
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posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:28 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by cool breeze at 1:55 PM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Benjamin Nushmutt at 1:55 PM on December 5, 2012


If there is a better jazz instrumental than Blue Rondo, I have never heard it.

It seemed like Miles Davis anchored the darker end of the spectrum, while Brubeck held down the lighter end.

Be in peace, DB.

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posted by dbiedny at 1:59 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


.-.---.-.---.-.---.-.---
posted by motty at 2:03 PM on December 5, 2012


...../....
posted by hooha at 2:13 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by bz at 2:13 PM on December 5, 2012


This guy had a profound influence on a few video game music composers. The battle theme from Final Fantasy VII is basically a rip-off of Blue Rondo à la Turk.
posted by Redfield at 2:15 PM on December 5, 2012


Dave and Yo Yo Ma with Dave's son Matt on another cello and Paquito D'Rivera on clarinet do a little Christmas.
posted by tommyD at 2:21 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


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Thanks, Dave.
posted by RakDaddy at 2:53 PM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Tiet Peret at 2:58 PM on December 5, 2012


My favourite thing of all is the outtakes of "The Trolley Song" on the Black Hawk album, when he says he wants the rhythm to be more emphatic, so that it goes BOOGOODABAH BOOGOODABAH! Goodnight you champion.
posted by gdav at 3:01 PM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Brian Puccio at 3:06 PM on December 5, 2012


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Blue Rondo à la Turk was probably the first jazz song I heard that really made me want to listen to more.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:26 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was a helluva run, Dave, and a nice long life. Well played!

I saw him play in the past... he had the gift of both being accessable, cordial, and stylish. He invited you into his world of music, and it was a warm, wonderful home.

Opened the balcony window a little while ago to my place in S.F., right next door to a nightclub where Sufjan Stevens is playing tonight... only to have a Christmas pom-pom'ed, knit-hatted hipster in a Dave Brubeck shirt come up to my window and give me a big, happy thumbs up.

That guy had reach, y'know... the focal point of so many warm feelings and fond memories. Today's Dave Day, as far as I am concerned.
posted by markkraft at 3:59 PM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by JoeXIII007 at 4:01 PM on December 5, 2012


Take five, Mr. Brubeck.

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posted by chemoboy at 4:20 PM on December 5, 2012


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posted by pmurray63 at 4:38 PM on December 5, 2012


His Christmas album is as good as any you care to name -- in its lively bits and quiet bits, whether in the forefront or the background, such friendly sophistication. Highly recommended.
posted by Capt. Renault at 5:19 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by disclaimer at 5:20 PM on December 5, 2012


Highly recommended.

30 seconds into this and it was straight to iTunes. Thanks for posting this!
posted by jquinby at 5:36 PM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by condour75 at 5:54 PM on December 5, 2012


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I can't even tell you.....
posted by mkim at 6:00 PM on December 5, 2012


Thank you, Mr. Brubeck, for bringing stars to my eyes from the first moment I ever heard your music. I hold you in the highest regard and will remember the evening I spent with you as one of the greater evenings of my life. Your presence was pure magic, thank you.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 6:00 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by robcorr at 6:27 PM on December 5, 2012


Been playing Brubeck tonight and drinking, so forgive me. I got to hear him live 3 times, and I count myself lucky. Once was twenty five years ago or so. My father took me; I called him and told him because I didn't want to hear from a stranger.

The last time I heard Brubeck live was 4 years ago, tomorrow, if my math is right. It was a sellout crowd. He lectured us, professorially, on 5/4 time, and he asked us to clap it out. There was one - one! - person in the audience who counted 4/4. We all laughed, but not him. He not only laughed, he cried out in delight, "Right..... that's right. You _want_ to do that." It was a lovely moment.

I'm listening to "Ronda a la Turk" live at Carnegie, and I got nothing.
Thanks, Dave. Take all the time you want.
posted by grimjeer at 6:32 PM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


One of my very very early childhood memories, one of the earliest without a photographic assist, is my dad playing Blue Rondo a la Turk on the piano and me dancing so hard that my pants fell off. There is something about that song.

Godspeed, Mr. Brubeck.
posted by eritain at 6:57 PM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 7:39 PM on December 5, 2012


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posted by limeonaire at 7:41 PM on December 5, 2012


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posted by newdaddy at 7:52 PM on December 5, 2012


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posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 8:29 PM on December 5, 2012


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posted by eye of newt at 8:53 PM on December 5, 2012


Jazz Heaven is amassing one hell of a band.

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posted by Fibognocchi at 9:27 PM on December 5, 2012


Just watched that Russian performance Boba Horza Gorbachul linked above, was moved to a few involuntary exclamations watching it, yeah, uh, YEAH. And... the obvious naked delight on Brubeck's face when the guy stands up- and the way he just beams through the whole performance, glorying in it- it's like a visual demonstration of the kindness and generosity of spirit so many above have ascribed to the man.
posted by hap_hazard at 9:36 PM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by Sing Fool Sing at 11:22 PM on December 5, 2012


I would like to pass along this variation on Take 5.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:35 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nice line from the Guardian obituary:
The jazz-loving American comedian Mort Sahl once remarked of American cold-war foreign diplomacy that "After John Foster Dulles visits a country, the State Department sends the Brubeck Quartet in to repair the damage."
If music is maths then up till Brubeck I only knew the numbers three and four.
posted by bright cold day at 1:01 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


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(thank you so much for all you gave a young me.)
posted by kaiseki at 1:55 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd like hear what happens when he and Stan Kenton have a music-heavenly contest to see who screws up first playing 117/8 against 33/4.
posted by Twang at 5:26 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


. <- there's a space before it so it's syncopated.
posted by tetsuo at 5:40 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I come to this thread as a heathen. I'm not a jazz guy. I only know one Brubeck song. But, oh, is that song permanently ingrained.

When I was a kid growing up in the DC suburbs, "Take Five" was the background music for WTTG-TV's (VHF channel 5) "Technical Difficulties" card. Anytime something happened at the station, that card would come up, the music would start, and my sisters and I would anxiously await the return of whatever '50s rerun we were watching. At the time, WTTG was an independent stations (they've been the DC Fox affiliate since Murdoch formed Fox in the late '80s), and technical difficulties happened *a lot*. I probably heard "Take Five" twice a week or more for years.

And now I'm sad that I didn't use it as an opportunity to learn more about other kinds[1] of music, and find more music from this man. But, iTunes is currently providing me with his Christmas album (thanks, Capt. Renault!), and I'm sure there will be more to come.

Maybe I'm finally mature enough to become a "jazz guy".

[1] Because of my parents' ages, I mostly listened to Big Band music growing up. Didn't discover contemporary music (rock, disco) until the very late '70s.
posted by hanov3r at 6:15 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]




I saw him when he performed in Washington in 2009. He clearly was having so much fun!
posted by jgirl at 7:33 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bought "Plays and Plays and Plays" because I wanted to hear the man that influenced Donald Fagen. Loved it so much that when it came time to name a new cat, I named him Brubeck Zawinul, after two jazz greats.

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posted by luckynerd at 11:40 AM on December 6, 2012


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posted by LobsterMitten at 9:48 AM on December 7, 2012


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posted by paulg at 11:13 AM on December 7, 2012


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I saw Brubeck in high school with my date at the time, whose grandma laughed because she had seen Brubeck when she was our age...
posted by cosmologinaut at 8:46 PM on December 7, 2012


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Along with the spools of children's songs and of the pop music that we forced him to record from the radio, my father had a few spools of music that he virtually revered. Vilayat Khan on the sitar, some mushaira recordings, von Karajan conducting Beethoven's Fifth, and Time Out. Brubeck, for me, is forever tied up in nostalgia about learning how to operate the reel-to-reel tape player, connecting the various jacks, threading the tape, selecting the correct speed, all under my dad's careful tutelage. Then sitting with him and listening, quietly. Those first few bars of Take Five always take me back to these rare and precious pockets of time.
posted by bardophile at 8:27 AM on December 8, 2012


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posted by ericb at 10:47 AM on December 9, 2012


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