Reader's Notes - Bye Bye Brubeck

I imagine that, as it was for many people, Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet was the first jazz album they ever listened to.  I was ten at the time I discovered Time Out, and I found the old LP in with my parents' record collection along with some Beatles albums and Scheherazade -- the last with a super-sexy sleeve.  From the first hook of "Blue Rondo A La Turk" -- a 9/8 time signature, that's crazy! -- I was hooked, and I must have listened to that album a million times trying to figure out what made the music sound so different from anything I'd ever heard.  At ten, growing up in rural Maine, I didn't yet know any people who could explain what I was hearing, so I just listened, sitting there in an upstairs bedroom before the old hi-fi, reading those liner notes over and over again, as if they would somehow help unravel the mystery of "Kathy's Waltz."  From those first weeks and months of listening, the figuring out has been the best part.

Of all the words I've read today about Dave Brubeck, a few of the music programmers I hear from now and again seemed to say it best:  Brubeck, who passed away just before his 92nd birthday, had been around for so long it seemed like he would always be around.  If you have any of his many excellent albums, get them out and listen to them.  I'm looking at my shelves as I write this: Jazz Goes To College, Time Out, Time Further Out, The Real Ambassadors, Tritonis, Paper Moon.  That's a whole lot of music from a guy who almost didn't make it out of Europe during the Battle of the Bulge.

I've collected a few of the tributes to Dave Brubeck from around the web.  Good bye, Dave.  Thanks for starting me off, and I hope the piano's always in tune wherever you may be.

The Brubeck Institute at the University of the Pacific
Brubeck's artist page at National Public Radio
Obituary from All Things Considered
Obituary in the New York Times
Remembrance from Popular Science
Obituary in the Wall Street Journal
Obituary from the Washington Post
Larry Applebaum talking with Brubeck

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1 comment:

Mark Hayes said...

For the record (pun intended), I believe this was the sexy album cover: