Matthew R. Perry

Happy 86th birthday, Dave Brubeck

In Uncategorized on December 6, 2006 at 9:28 am

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Today is the 86th birthday of my favorite jazz artist, Dave Brubeck.  A gifted composer, he and his quartet with the incomparable Paul Desmond on alto sax, Eugene Wright on bass and Joe Morello on drums took jazz to a new level.  The Dave Brubeck Quartet achieved massive popularity all the while remaining artistically innovative.

The DBQ played the US through the 1950s and 1960s.  Although some concerts in the South during that time chose not to host their concerts even at the height of their popularity (they took issue with their band being integrated), they achieved popularity with their first big “hit” album, “Time Out.”  What made this achievement so astounding is that most of the songs were in asymmetrical rhythms.  Jazz up until that time stayed in the 2/4 or 4/4 time signatures, giving it a swing feel.  Brubeck’s “Take Five,” his most popular composition to date, was in 5/4.  “Blue Rondo A la Turk” started out in 9/8 with a 2+2+2+3 grouping — not the typical symmetrical rhythms found in regular radio play.

Brubeck is still composing on Columbia Records.  You can look at some of his works at http://www.dave-brubeck.com.

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Here is a picture of Dave Brubeck in 2005 at his 85th birthday bash!

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