Take Five—- RIP Dave Brubeck

Yesterday one of the real lions of American, and indeed world jazz passed away only one day before his 92nd birthday— Dave Brubeck. Brubeck, along with his long time collaborator Paul Desmond is rightly credited for helping make jazz more accessible to audiences around the world, and especially in his early period is credited with being one of jazz’ great innovators. Certainly one of top five most influential jazz albums of my lifetime is ‘Time Out’ first issued in 1959, with many classic tracks including the heavily covered ‘Take Five’ (written by Paul Desmond) and ‘Blue Rondo ala Turk’ (covered by Al Jarreau among many others). Brubeck was so popular and well respected that he is one of only two jazz musicians to make the cover of many major magazines, including Time Magazine. He is credited with being one of several musicians (Miles Davis being another) who gave birth to ‘the cool’ jazz.

What is less well known about Brubeck is that in the 60s, with his reputation well established, he turned to sacred music, writing oratorios like ‘The Temptations and Teachings of Christ’ later renamed ‘Light in the Wilderness’. Check out this sample by the Hastings College Choir…

Brubeck was many good things, including a major promoter of young talent. I especially enjoy his 1995 CD Young Lions and Old Tigers. Right up to the time of his death he continued to be one of jazz’ great ambassadors. I would encourage you to read Jeff Tamarkin’s tribute in the online version of Jazz Times, or the obituary and tribute in the NY Times. Dave we look forward to your jazz renditions in the Gospel nightclub portion of heaven.

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