Search Results for: Dave Brubeck

Encore: A Little Blues With Brubeck And Desmond

Bru & Des

The following item ran on Rifftides more than five years ago, with a link to video that later disappeared from the web. The clip has been restored. In light of recent discussions about the blues theme that frequently appeared when the two men played together, even after the Brubeck Quartet dissolved in 1967, the item is worth presenting again. This time, the video is on your screen. The picture quality is bad. The quality of the sound and the music is good. June 29, 2007 By Doug Ramsey Dave … [Read more...]

Brubecks: To Russia With Music

C. Brubeck, M. McFaul

Chris Brubeck reports from Moscow about the Brubeck Brothers Quartet’s Russian tour. He last played there a quarter of a century ago as a member of his father Dave’s quartet, when the country was the Soviet Union. Chris writes on his blog that at the BBQ’s first concert of the current trip, the US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, introduced the band… …in fluent Russian, right before our 2nd set. What he said in essence was that although he was the official Ambassador from the United … [Read more...]

Portland Festival, Take Five: Marsalis-Calderazzo Duo, Brubeckians

Marsalis, Calderazzo

MARSALIS AND CALDERAZZO Parts of Brandford Marsalis’s and Joey Calderazzo’s Sunday concert of saxophone-piano duets suggested the atmosphere of a 19th century recital somewhere in middle Europe. The beauty of Calderazzo’s “La Valse Kendall,” Marsalis’s “The Bard Lachrymose” and the short “Die Trauernde” of Brahms encouraged quiet reflection. These are jazz musicians, however—two of the most adventuresome—and a complete afternoon of stately salon music wasn’t in the cards. The … [Read more...]

Recent Listening: The Brubeck Birthday Box

Brubeck Q + Teo

The Dave Brubeck Quartet: The Columbia Studio Albums Collection 1955-1967 Dave Brubeck turns 91 tomorrow, December 6, and Columbia Records is releasing a CD box containing all 19 of the Columbia albums that his quartet recorded in the studio. The earliest, Brubeck Time, was released in 1955 but recorded in the fall of 1954, three years after Brubeck and alto saxophonist Paul Desmond formed the quartet. The last, Anything Goes: Brubeck Plays Cole Porter, was released in 1967 a few months … [Read more...]

Sophia, Dave And Dizzy


You never know who’s listening. Skipping around in Jeffrey Lyons’ entertaining new book about his father Leonard, the prolific New York Post columnist, I came across this item in the Sophia Loren section: In 1961, she was back in Spain filming El Cid, and after finishing the day’s shooting of that medieval epic, Loren would always turn on Dave Brubeck and Dizzy Gillespie records. “It’s the best way to snap back into the twentieth century,” she explained. It’s worth mentioning the … [Read more...]

Take 90: Brubeck At The Blackhawk

Dave Brubeck is spending his 90th birthday in the midst of his sizeable family and many close friends. Chances are that they will take time out to watch the documentary about his life. As they reminisce, it's almost certain that Dave will tell a Blackhawk story or two. The club in San Francisco's Tenderloin district was his quartet's headquarters for years before and after they became famous. It was the location of a pilot for a television series that never get off the ground. Mort Sahl, a … [Read more...]

The New Brubeck Documentary

Dave Brubeck is getting a lot of attention. With his 90th birthday three days away, he is the subject of performance reviews, articles and editorials in dozens of newspapers from The New York Times to The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times and Britain's Guardian. His music is being played over the air to a degree unprecedented since the early 1960s, when "Take Five" was a popular hit. On National Public Radio, Terry Gross replays her 1999 Fresh Air interview with Brubeck. Viewers of … [Read more...]

Brubeck Is Back On The Job

Dave Brubeck's new pacemaker seems to be working. Here's a headline from this morning's Worcester (MA) Telegram-Gazette: Brubeck makes up-tempo return Ticker repaired, pianist keeps beat To read a review of Friday night's concert in Worcester, go here. We have found no explanation of why Chris Smith and Cody Cox were substituting for Michael Moore and Randy Jones, Brubeck's regular bassist and drummer. … [Read more...]

A Brubeck Birthday Concert

Dave Brubeck's 90th birthday is on December 6. Observances are beginning. This weekend in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra under music director William Schrickel will play a celebratory concert with three pieces by Brubeck. They include one of his first extended orchestral works, Elementals, and the U.S. premiere of an adaptation for solo violin and strings of "Sleep, Holy Infant" from La Fiesta de la Posada. Three others pieces on the program are by George Gershwin, … [Read more...]

Brubeck & Company In Belgium, Part 5

Ending this Rifftides mini-series of videos from the Dave Brubeck Quartet's 1964 appearance on Belgian television is—what else?—the number that became a popular hit in a best-selling album and for Desmond, its composer, an annuity that by terms of his will is still funneling large amounts of money to the Red Cross. The quartet included it in all of their concerts around the world, lest there be disappointed audiences. This version has a brief solo from Desmond, an elegiac one from … [Read more...]

Brubeck & Company In Belgium, Part 4

More or less from the beginning of their association, Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond had an affinity for blues in minor keys. Three that achieved success to the point of indelible identification with them were "Balcony Rock," first recorded in Jazz Goes To College (1954), the same theme recycled as "Audrey" for Brubeck Time (1956), and "Koto Song" from Jazz Impressions Of Japan (1964). "Koto Song" was a new entry in the quartet's repertoire when they played it on television in Belgium in '64. … [Read more...]

Brubeck & Company In Belgium, Part 3

From a DBQ television appearance in Europe, we have the piece that served as the quartet's concert opener for more than a decade. First, a couple of observations, one from me, one from Eugene Wright: From me: Whoever decreed that white men can't play the blues never really listened to Desmond and Brubeck personalize the idiom as they do in their solos here. Gene's observation is a quotation in a book about Desmond. The first part of it applies to his relationship with Morello from the beginning … [Read more...]

Brubeck & Company In Belgium, Part 2

This time, Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Gene Wright and Joe Morello play "In Your Own Sweet Way." Because of the quality of the song, the quartet's popularity and the Miles Davis seal of approval, by the time of this performance in 1964 it was a jazz standard. Attention, tune detectives: Brubeck's Matt Dennis quote suggests that he might have been thinking of disbanding, but the quartet's dissolution was five years away. For the first part of this mini-series, see the July 10 entry below. There … [Read more...]

Brubeck & Company In Belgium, Part 1

Concert videos from out of the past continue to materialize on the internet. Recent emanations include several pieces from a 1964 appearance in Belgium by the classic Dave Brubeck Quartet. The excellent picture and sound quality and the absence of applause suggest that the performances were in a television broadcast. Over the next few days, we will bring you several of the clips, beginning with "Three to Get Ready." It has a couple of rough edges, but with a band that had this much fun, who … [Read more...]

Brubeck, Rotterdam, Part 6

As long as the YouTube benefactor in Holland keeps posting new segments from that 1972 Dave Brubeck concert in Rotterdam, Rifftides will keep bringing them to you. The piece that just popped up, "Someday My Prince Will Come," was a staple in the classic Brubeck quartet's repertoire before it disbanded in 1969. Paul Desmond reaches into what he would no doubt refer to as his bag of tricks for a brilliant use of repetition (which amuses Alan Dawson), one of his celebrated duets with himself, blues … [Read more...]

Brubeck, Mulligan, Six & Dawson, Parts 4 & 5

Two more pieces have emerged from the Dutch YouTube contributor who is posting segments of a remarkable Dave Brubeck concert in Rotterdam in 1972. The core unit was the Brubeck trio with bassist Jack Six and drummer Alan Dawson. Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan were the guest saxophonists on the Newport Jazz Festival tour. Unlike many YouTube videos, these are of high visual quality and hold up in the full-screen mode. Don't miss Six and Dawson enjoying the metric play at 5:15 of the second clip. … [Read more...]

Brubeck, Desmond, Mulligan: All The Things

The counterpoint that Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond generated in the early-to-mid 1950s leads many serious listeners to consider the period the creative height of their partnership. For all the success of their later work, including "Take Five," after the late fifties counterpoint was a less frequent, less concentrated part of their work. There were exceptions, even after the Brubeck quartet disbanded in 1969. One came during a brief stage when the temporarily reconstituted quartet featured … [Read more...]

Other Places: Brubeck On His Institute

The 2010 Brubeck Festival opens today at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Occasional Rifftides contributor Paul Conley of Capitol Public Radio in Sacramento spoke with Dave and Iola Brubeck about the history of the institute. Among the stories is Brubeck's recollection of the early connection between one of his brothers and an emerging young band leader and arranger named Gil Evans. To hear Paul's report, go here and click on "Listen." … [Read more...]

Other Places: A Brubeck Jazz Profile

On his excellent blog, Jazz Profiles, Steve Cerra's new subject is Dave Brubeck. He is taking for his text the extensive booklet notes I wrote for the four-CD Brubeck box called Time Signatures: A Career Retrospective. When it popped up today, I read the essay for the first time in years. To adapt what Paul Desmond used to say about recording, I didn't have to cough too often during the playback. To read the first of three parts and see the photographs Mr. Cerra integrated into the text, go … [Read more...]

Brubeck At Jazz Alley

On the heels of the announcement that he is a 2009 Kennedy Center honoree, Dave Brubeck wrapped up a rare extended club engagement, part of his latest western tour. Sunday, at the helm of the "new" edition of the quartet he has headed since 1951, the 88-year-old pianist and composer played to a packed house for the final set of a four-night engagement at Seattle's Jazz Alley. Brubeck has come a long way in his recovery from a viral infection that put him out of action last spring. In … [Read more...]

Brubeck On The Beeb

YouTube has posted a few excerpts from programs the Dave Brubeck Quartet did for BBC television in 1964. The musical and the black and white video quality are superb. In the first one, I am struck by Brubeck's delicacy at the keyboard and by the fullness of Paul Desmond's alto saxophone sound. The critic Steve Race was the program host. Race interviews Brubeck leading into a feature for bassist Eugene Wright. In the discussion, Brubeck earnestness and shyness are as noteworthy as Wright's … [Read more...]

Other Places: Brubeck, Brubeck And Adams

The news from Connecticut is that Dave Brubeck's two-week hospitalization for a viral infection is at an end. The setback made him miss the premiere in California last week of a new orchestral work inspired by Ansel Adams. He and his son Chris had been working on it for a year. Brubeck is back home and back at work, but his doctors felt that a transcontinental trip was not a good idea for a recuperating 88-year-old. In advance of the premiere, Paul Conley spoke with the Brubecks, father and … [Read more...]

Correspondence: A Brubeck Web Site

Just wanted you to know that FINALLY we have a website. It's still in formation and we welcome any suggestions. It was created by Brian Chauley, former Fellow at Brubeck Institute and now assistant to the Exec. Director. We hope to do more by the addition of a newsletter and more photographs, and current news re: concerts etc. So visit us at Happy Spring to All! Dave and Iola … [Read more...]

Brubeck: Things, Sweet

Someone known to me only by the e-mail handle "Bloorondo" pointed out links to a pair of Dave Brubeck video performances new to me and, perhaps, to you. The first, "All The Things You Are," was at a concert in Berlin in 1972 when Gerry Mulligan was the saxophonist in the Brubeck Quartet and Paul Desmond joined them on tour. Jack Six was the bassist, Alan Dawson the drummer. Brubeck, Mulligan and Six are turned out in seventies fashions, including lots of hair. Be sure to notice Brubeck's … [Read more...]

Brubeck And Company Down Under

Whether sponsored by the State Department or off to see the world on their own, the Dave Brubeck Quartet practiced their share of cultural diplomacy in the 1950s and '60s. You Tube, that never-ending source of surprises and occasional frustrations, has come up with video of the DBQ on a 1962 Australian television program. The story goes that the tape of the show was lost for more than two decades and barely saved from destruction once it was found. It includes contrived conversations that, like … [Read more...]

Brubeck On The BBC

Here is a listening tip for Friday, December 7, gleaned from a Dave Brubeck Quartet listserve: To celebrate pianist Dave Brubeck's 87th birthday, Alyn Shipton introduces part of a conversation with Brubeck recorded during his quartet's 40th anniversary tour of the UK, in which he selects some of his favourite recordings from a catalogue that includes over 100 albums. As well as such perennial favourites as "Take Five" by his historic quartet with Paul Desmond, Brubeck also looks at his … [Read more...]