Sunday, December 05, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dave Brubeck

The original, prolific and highly creative pianist-composer-bandleader Dave Brubeck was born on December 6, 1920 in Concord, CA. In his case, 90 years young is accurate; Mr. Brubeck is still playing superb music at an age when most people are long deceased or suffering from severely impaired mental and physical functioning.

Here's a clip from a 1983 interview with Dave:

The secret of his success and longevity? Beats me, but I can imagine Mr. Brubeck steered clear of what comedian Sam Kinison wryly and accurately termed "life-killers"; the obvious ones involve substance abuse, while the less obvious would be consumption of greasy "road food" and a sedentary lifestyle. He received Kennedy Center Honors in 2009 and got to hear the following all-star ensemble (BIll Charlap, Christian McBride, Jon Faddis, Bill Stewart, Miguel Zenon) play his compositions.

So, the directive for musicians is to play your favorite Brubeck composition - I'm personally a sucker for "In Your Own Sweet Way" - sometime before the stroke of midnight on December 6, although it's a good idea anytime.

Brubeck aficionados can pick an album from his prolific catalog; I've cued up the February 21, 1963 performance of The Dave Brubeck Quartet At Carnegie Hall, featuring the amazing group that recorded Time Out and Time Further Out: Paul Desmond (alto saxophone), Gene Wright (bass) and Joe Morello (drums).

I could think of many more: Jazz At Oberlin, the 1972 We'll Be Together Again For The First Time concert with Gerry Mulligan, All The Things We Are (featuring Anthony Braxton, Lee Konitz and Roy Haynes), the 1982 Concord concert . . . and many Brubeck albums I've yet to hear. The list goes on and on!

Happy 90th, Dave - and thanks!


Mickzilla said...

A good time and place to remind us that TCM will be honoring Dave on Monday, January 6 with a day-long tribute including films with a jazz theme and the premiere of a new documentary Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way (2010), with Clint Eastwood, executive producer and Bruce Ricker, director.

Happy birthday, Mr. Brubeck. On this, your 90th birthday, you have certainly earned to take a lot more than five.

paul etcheverry said...

Thanks, Micki - and good to hear from you.

The TCM tribute is tonight. If you have TCM (and especially a DVR), it's an excellent day.

paul etcheverry said...

Actually, even if you can't afford TCM or a DVR, it's still a great day when you can listen to recordings by Dave, Darius, Chris, Matt and Dan Brubeck!