Dave Brubeck – 1920 – 2012

Yesterday the great Dave Brubeck passed away. GM’s always had a special place in his heart for Brubeck, so he’d like to take today to share some of memories of this great jazzman.

GM grew up in the town Brubeck called home for the last 50 years. Before GM knew anything about Time Out or “Take Five”, he knew Brubeck as the guy whose house sometimes had a great haunted house on Halloween.

Long after those days, GM finally listened to Brubeck’s work and grew to appreciate the art behind it (as an alto saxophonist himself, GM probably was first drawn more to Paul Desmond).

Years later, when GM was fooling around with a music looping program on his computer he decided to give a shot at remixing a tune. He didn’t have to think long about what song he’d try. The results (embedded above) are hardly stellar, but it was truly done with heart.

GM was lucky enough to see Brubeck live on two occasions. The first was at the Lincoln Theater on U St. in 2005. The performance was highlighted by a moving take on “Over the Rainbow” and the inevitable yet raucous “Take Five” finale.

Years later, GM was visiting home the same weekend that the jazz band of Brubeck’s sons was playing at the newly christened Dave Brubeck Music Room at the local public library. Towards the end of the show, Chris Brubeck invited his father, who was in the audience, to come and join them for a few more songs. Most memorable was a touching duet between Dave on the piano and Chris on the trombone performing the lovely “Strange Meadow Lark”. And of course the show ended with “Take Five”, this time with an energy level nearing straight up rock. Dan Brubeck lead the charge on drums with a driving beat (and the loudest drum solo that library will surely ever see).

It’s a memory GM will always cherish. And surely there are thousands of others with similarly cherished memories of seeing or hearing this great man play.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Dave Brubeck – 1920 – 2012

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I wrote about Mr. Brubeck on my blog today as well. It’s a testament to the greatness of the man that he could reach across so many generations.

  2. WHM

    GM, your heartfelt tribute to Dave Brubeck is touching indeed, especially accented by Take Five. Your words and music convey the admiration and affection I have for this great musician so much better than I ever could. I’m sure many others will share that thought. Thank you.

  3. He also wrote some amazing sacred music and gave several performances at the National Cathedral including one that was recorded (released in 1996) called “To Hope! A Celebration” with the Cathedral Choral Society. Such a loss.

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