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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Memories of Dave Brubeck

With Dave Brubeck hitting 90 on Saturday and the Brubecks Play Brubeck show hitting The Sage, Gateshead, tomorrow I took Time Out to reflect on my memories of the Great Man.
According to my collection of programmes I saw him live on at least four occasions.
Twice in 1961, once in '62 and once with a Newport Jazz Festival package that included the Buck Clayton All-Stars, the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet and the Dave Brubeck Quartet - even in this illustrious company Dave topped the bill.
I recall Jim McDowell and I going down to Leeds when, for some reason, he missed out on Newcastle. It was worth the trip.
Eleven vinyl discs and Four CDs are further proof that this was no passing fancy!
The most recent was Park Avenue South recorded in 2002 - the maestro hadn't lost his touch!
Dave was successful - discs in the Hit Parade - he even made a lot of money!
To the "critics" this was and is artistic suicide - their heroes are supposed to starve in garrets and die an early drug/alcohol related death or get shot in an alley back of Birdland. Dave didn't go down that road which is why he is still swinging at 90 years of age.
I recall how fashionable it was to praise Paul Desmond and Joe Morello and denigrate Dave as if they were serving some kind of sentence!
Well Desmond is quoted as saying in Marian McPartland's book - All In Good Time - I would never have made it without Dave. He's amazing harmonically, and he's a fantastic accompanist. You can play the wrongest note, possible in any chord, and he can make it sound like the only right one!
I'll take Desmond - and the late Steve Race - over those critics who prefer a hatchet to a crotchet which they probably think is some kind of knitting.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow night and hearing the sons carry on the family tradition.
When I interviewed Darius Brubeck last week, as a precurser to tomorrow's show, one of the things that came across was his sincerity - obviously a family trait!
Don't let the snow put you off - it's the only game in town!
Lance.

1 comment :

Andy Hudson said...

Dave Brubeck was a great man to work with. I had the pleasure of promoting him a few times but most memorably on a 2 show double bill at the Festival Hall London as part of the JVC Jazz Parade in the Mid-eighties. The other half of the double bill was George Shearing.
I had asked if as a finale they would play together and was told categorically no.

So the shows were Show 1 Brubeck then Shearing Show 2 Shearing then Brubeck, George was still around and lurking in the wings when I went on stage to take Dave off -final bows and all that.
" I bet you'd like them to play together" I exhorted the RFH crowd, who responded with apoplectic delight.I then went and sat at the piano and started the TAKE 5 Riff. Announcing that I would continue until they came on - the thought of my desecration of that A-rhythmic masterpiece worked - Dave leading George by the arm to his Bosendorfer and then ceremoniously kicking me from his Chappell carried on with quite the best rendition you would ever hear.
They played on - for another half hour joined by Nils Pederson on bass and I can't remember the drummer. They both had a ball and WE all certainly did.
After the show I went to thank them and Dave said ...."don't ever do that again"......Grinned.... and added......!Until next time"
Happy 90th

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