Search Results for: Dave Brubeck

A Dave Brubeck Memorial Service

St John The Divine

  At the very moment that last evening’s memorial service for Dave Brubeck got underway, the rumble of thunder penetrated the massive Gothic walls of New York City’s Cathedral of St. John The Divine. A murmur ran through the throng filling the 120-year-old church. With dignity and a commanding presence, Iola Brubeck read Langston Hughes’ poem “I Dream a World.” She said that it echoes the core of her husband’s belief in the equality of all peoples. An excerpt:   A world I … [Read more...]

Dave Brubeck Is Gone

Brubeck facing right-thumb-90x113-18094

Dave Brubeck died this morning. He would have celebrated his 92nd birthday tomorrow. Russell Gloyd, Brubeck’s manager and conductor of the pianist and composer’s extended orchestral works, said that Brubeck suffered cardiac arrest. In fragile health for several years, he was being driven from his home in Wilton Connecticut to an appointment with his heart doctor in nearby Norwalk. For a comprehensive obituary tracing the career that made Brubeck one of the few jazz artists to achieve mass … [Read more...]

Dave Brubeck At 90: Was He Cool Or What?

With Dave Brubeck's 90th birthday five days away, anticipation of the event is materializing in news stories, interviews, radio airplay, web tributes and accolades from colleagues and admirers. Marc Myers' piece in The Wall Street Journal includes this paragraph: Clean living, a happy marriage and global popularity have made Mr. Brubeck a media darling--and a target of envy. "Even in the '50s I'd hear critics and musicians say, 'Oh, Brubeck, he's different'--meaning separate from the rest," Mr. … [Read more...]

A Dave Brubeck Concert

Bob Coughlin, a longtime Dave Brubeck aficionado, attended a concert by the Brubeck quartet the other night, took notes, and posted his review on the Brubeck e-mail listserve. I thought it deserved wider dissemination. The quartet has the same musicians it has had for years—Brubeck, alto saxophonist Bobby Militello, bassist Michael Moore and drummer Randy Jones. “Russell” in Mr. Couglin’s report is Russell Gloyd, Brubeck’s manager, a musical collaborator who often arranges and conducts on … [Read more...]

Dave Brubeck: One Year


1. Today, a year following Dave Brubeck’s death, a new website celebrates his life and music. 2. We relay an announcement that one of the finest jazz repertory orchestras will broadcast a program of Brubeck compositions. As John Bolger’s Dave Brubeck debuts, the Irish Brubeck maven has unveiled an impressive site. In the “About” section, he outlines his ambitious goal: The primary purpose was to detail the entire catalogue of Dave‘s music, recorded over eight decades, so that … [Read more...]

Compatible Quotes: Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck Quartet

There's a way of playing safe, there's a way of using tricks and there's the way I like to play, which is dangerously, where you're going to take a chance on making mistakes in order to create something you haven't created before. I'm always hoping for the nights that are inspired, where you almost have an out-of-body experience. Damn it, when I'm bombastic, I have my reasons. I want to be bombastic: take it or leave it (Photo of Dave Brubeck at the Stockholm Jazz Festival by … [Read more...]

On Dave Brubeck

Time Dave_Brubeck

There is no guarantee that a great artist will be an admirable person. Many sublimely gifted musicians, painters, sculptors, writers and actors fail as human beings. Dave Brubeck was on the positive end of the scale. Among the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of obituaries and remembrances of Brubeck that have emerged since his death yesterday morning, a thread becomes clear: those who knew him emphasize that his extraordinary musicianship went hand in hand with kindness, generosity, humor and concern … [Read more...]

Other Places: Lucky Thompson & Dave Brubeck

Lucky Thompson

In his Jazz Profiles blog, Steve Cerra’s stock in trade is—logically enough— profiles of musicians. He copiously illustrates them with photographs, album covers and sound clips and often adds personal reflections or anecdotes to enrich the mix. The lead story that Steve put up today is about the late tenor and soprano saxophonist Lucky Thompson. Thompson worked in the 1940s and ‘50s in Dizzy Gillespie’s sextet and with the big bands of Billy Eckstine, Tom Talbert and Count Basie. … [Read more...]

DVD: Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck, Brubeck Returns to Moscow (Koch Vision). This 2005 film about Brubeck's 1997 visit to Russia for a performance of his mass To Hope is a beautifully crafted documentary. It incorporates Brubeck's quartet with a symphony orchestra and chorus performing the mass and a rousing "Blue Rondo ala Turk." We see Brubeck's informal encounters with the Russians, including a spirited impromptu duet with a young violinist, and conductor Russell Gloyd amusingly overcoming the language difference … [Read more...]

O Rare Dave Brubeck

In the past few days, three videos have materialized of a 1956 television performance by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. They show the group after Brubeck was elevated to general fame by way of a TIME magazine cover story but before Joe Morello and Eugene Wright replaced Joe Dodge and Norman Bates on drums and bass. As I wrote in Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond, It may be difficult for anyone who grew up after the pervasive hype of television and the omnipresence of the … [Read more...]

Dave Brubeck, 88 Keys, 88 Years, Another Honor

On Tuesday, Dave Brubeck was inducted into the California Hall of Fame along with eleven others including actors Jane Fonda and Jack Nicholson, fitness maven Jack LaLanne, musician and producer Quincy Jones, chef Alice Waters and -- posthumously -- Theodore Geiss (Dr. Seuss), scientist Linus Pauling, architect Julia Morgan, and Dorothea Lange, the photographer best known for documenting the human toll of the Great Depression. Brubeck turned eighty-eight on December 6. Paul Conley of Capital … [Read more...]

Dan Brubeck Honors His Parents

Dan Brubeck CD cover

Dan Brubeck, Live From The Cellar: Celebrating The Music And Lyrics Of Dave & Iola Brubeck (Blue Forest Records) On the eve of his 60th birthday, Dave and Iola Brubeck’s drummer son releases his first album as a leader. A tribute to his parents, it is also a revelation of the quality of musicians in his adopted hometown, Vancouver, British Columbia. With his work in his father’s quartet, Two Generations of Brubecks, the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, Larry Coryell and the Dolphins, Dan … [Read more...]

Brubeck A La Russe, Part 2: A Story From Moscow

Russian Story illustration

Alexander Eydelman, who founded the Moscow Jazz Art Club in 1993 and has been its only president, writes stories under the name Aleksander Antoshin. Through the help of Rifftides Moscow correspondent Svetlana Ilicheva, Mr. Eydelman has agreed to our publishing one of his stories.  The tale set in the 1960s helps put in perspective some of the ways in which Russian jazz fans bucked the Soviet system's suppression of their efforts to hear American music. GETTING TO KNOW BRUBECK By Aleksander … [Read more...]

Brubeck A La Russe


On this second anniversary of Dave Brubeck’s death, an animated cartoon from Russia is a reminder of the impact that his music has had in many, perhaps most, parts of the world. Occasional Rifftides Moscow correspondent Svetlana Ilicheva called it to my attention. The cartoon is a creation of the Russian artist Ivan Maximov. Its quirkiness and charm are typical of his work. Whether he captures the spirit of the Brubeck Quartet’s music may be up to the eye and ear of the beholder, but there is no … [Read more...]

Iola Brubeck Service, Brubeck Festival

Brubecks, Armstrong

The family of Mrs. Dave Brubeck has announced that there will be a small memorial observance in Wilton, Connecticut on April 21. Iola Brubeck died on March 12 at the age of 90, 14 months following the death of her husband. In a letter, their oldest son Darius pointed out that next week’s Brubeck Festival at New York’s Lincoln Center will be a tribute to both of his parents. There is a wonderful exhibition already in place, including almost-life-size photos of Iola and Dave working on … [Read more...]

Iola Brubeck RIP

Iola, Dave, Duke

Iola Brubeck died today. She had been under treatment for cancer discovered several months ago during oral surgery. She was 90 years old. Her children made the announcement through the University of the Pacific, home of the Brubeck Institute. Mrs. Brubeck and her husband Dave were alumni of the university. They met there at a student dance in the early 1940s and decided that night they would marry, which they did a few months later. Mrs. Brubeck died peacefully at home in Wilton, Connecticut, … [Read more...]

Guest Column: A Brubeck Anniversary

Brubeck 2 heads

The two volumes of Dave Brubeck’s Jazz at the College of the Pacific on the Fantasy label have never received quite the degree of acclaim that met Jazz at Oberlin, recorded earlier in 1953. That’s a puzzle; The C.O.P. albums often equal the brilliance of Oberlin and of the phenomenally successful Jazz Goes to College, the quartet’s first LP for Columbia. Having blazed the trail that opened college campuses to performances by major jazz groups, Brubeck's C.O.P. concert was a triumphal return … [Read more...]

Recent Listening: Bennett/Brubeck


Tony Bennett/Dave Brubeck,The White House Sessions Live 1962 (Columbia/RPM/Legacy) Riding on the success of hit records, in August of ’62 Brubeck and Bennett had a good night in the shadow of the Washington Monument. They played in the Sylvan Theater for college students who had interned in the nation’s capitol that summer. That morning at the White House, President John F. Kennedy thanked the youngsters. The concert constituted an additional bonus for their work. In the last flowering of an … [Read more...]

Brubeck Memorial, Brubeck Performance

Brubeck Head

There will be a public memorial service for Dave Brubeck in New York City next Saturday, May 11. Brubeck died last December at the age of 91. Along with, no doubt, hundreds of others I will be at the service in the cavernous Cathedral Of St. John The Divine on the upper west side of Manhattan. A little known video of a Brubeck quartet performance recently surfaced. The other musicians are Jerry Bergonzi, tenor saxophone; Chris Brubeck, electric bass; and Randy Jones, drums. The piece is “All … [Read more...]

The Brubeck Institute Festival

Brubeck Festival

The Brubeck Institute Festival—underway since Monday—gets into full swing tonight in Stockton, California, with a concert by the Tom Harrell Quintet. Other major musicians involved include The Brubeck Brothers Quartet, Gunther Schuller, Wynton Marsalis and Joe Gilman. Paul Conley reports about the festival for Capital Public Radio and KXJZ in Sacramento. To hear Paul's story about the first major Brubeck Institute event since Dave’s death in December, click here. For a compete … [Read more...]

Darius On Dave

Darius, Dave

Since his death on December 5, the tributes to Dave Brubeck keep appearing all over the world in print, on the air and through the internet. His oldest son Darius, who was with his father at the end, sent us a link to the article he wrote at the request of South Africa’s Mail and Guardian newspaper. This excerpt touches on the social consciousness that guided Brubeck from the earliest days of his career: I lived in South Africa from 1983 to 2005, teaching jazz at the University of … [Read more...]

Other Places: Brubeck Remembered & A Niles Christmas


Rifftides is on hold, as explained in the previous post. However, I’m taking a moment for a couple of timely alerts. Chris Brubeck posted a memoir about life with his father, Dave. Chris’s article is packed with family anecdotes about the patriarch of American music who died on December 5 at age 91. Here’s a sample: We were really poor in those early days. When we went on the road, we would stay in old hotels that had cavernous closets—most times the closets were the best thing going … [Read more...]

Other Places (1): A Brubeck Radio Tribute

Ken Dryden

Journalist and occasional Rifftides commenter Ken Dryden (pictured) works nationally and lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Among other activities, he conducts a radio program. Mr. Dryden sent an alert to a special edition of his show remembering Dave Brubeck. If you are one of the unfortunate millions who do not live within broadcast earshot of Chattanooga, there’s good news; Ken’s show will be streamed tomorrow evening on the web. Here is his announcement. Please join me for Dziekuje, … [Read more...]

Brubeck: Things Ain’t What They Used To Be

Brubeck & Mulligan

With Dave Brubeck’s passing, interesting bits of arcana about his life and music are rising to the surface. BBC Radio 4 replayed a portion of an interview from 2000 on the network’s Front Row program with John Wilson. Brubeck tells Wilson about the role of vitamin B-6 in saving his hands and the unusual use of a bungee cord in his exercise routine. He illustrates polytonality by playing a bit of Duke Ellington's “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” in C and E-flat, simultaneously. To hear the … [Read more...]

Wall To Wall Brubeck

Brubeck smiling

The Columbia University radio station WKCR is playing Brubeck recordings around the clock and will until 9:00 EST tonight. To hear the station, click here, then on one of the connecting links in the WKCR site’s upper right corner. It is impossible to individually thank the Rifftides readers who have sent comments about Dave Brubeck's passing; there are too many of you. As the comments come in, we post them with thanks to all. More later on Brubeck. … [Read more...]

That Brubeck Blues

Piano blues

The vacation is over. I’m getting back into some kind of routine, if not yet what could be called a groove. Before that happens, I’m hitting the road again to spend a bit of time with my brother, who is less than well. In the meantime, here’s a followup to a post that attracted considerable comment. The item about Paul Desmond’s 88th birthday included a link to a track called “Pilgrim’s Progress” from a 1956 Dave Brubeck Quartet concert recording. The piece is a close relative of “Audrey,” … [Read more...]