Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dave Brubeck, Rest In Peace

I learned with great sadness that Dave Brubeck, one of the greatest jazz pianists (and musicians) of all time, died yesterday at the age of 91. I am a big fan of jazz music in general, and especially the era of the pioneers in the 1950's and 1960's. Brubeck would be front and center among the pantheon of giants from that era: Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, Chet Baker, etc. Having played trumpet for many years, I have always had a special fondness for the great jazz trumpeters, but the melodic beauty and technical complexity of Brubeck's playing always struck a chord with me. A quick peek at the CD collection shows that I own at least 7 of his albums. Certainly the Time Out album containing Take Five and Blue Rondo a la Turk must rank as one of the greatest jazz albums of all time. Most people wouldn't recognize the name (song or artist), but if you hummed the music from the Infiniti car commercials from a few years back, just about everyone would recognize the tune. And this is after Time Out sold a million copies on vinyl 50 years ago, and merited a jazz musician unparalleled commercial success. A quick read through some of the articles that a Google search turned up today helped drive home the point of how tremendously influential Brubeck was, and I am not enough of an expert to be able to judge that, but what I do know is that he created some truly wonderful music that sounds as fresh and alive today as it did the day it was composed. Farewell Dave.

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