Keith Hatschek, director of University of the Pacific’s Music Management Program, speaks at a memorial for Dave Brubeck in December 2012.
Jarreau, Brubeck Fellows recall Dave Brubeck’s influence
Tributes for jazz great Dave Brubeck '42 continue to come in from around the world. Here are just a few who knew him and were influenced by his music and the way he lived his life.
Al Jarreau, the Grammy Award winning jazz vocalist and headliner of 2014 Brubeck Festival: Coast to Coast, took a moment to recall Dave Brubeck:
In 1960, Dave and Gene Wright and Joe Morello and Paul Desmond came to little Ripon College and reconfirmed my love for Brubeck Jazz. I had been listening to D.B.'s record "Time Out," which had "Take Five" on it, since its release.
When I heard Carmen McRae do a version of "Take Five" with a lyric (by Iola Brubeck), I just had to put that in my repertoire. Just at that time I was leaving the George Duke Trio and Half Note days, which made up one of the most important periods in my musical life, and I was about to begin another most important period in my musical life, which became the "Al Jarreau and Julio Martinez Duo" period. I found myself exploring extra-vocal type excursions - still my thumbprint to this day. The year was 1968 and "Take Five" locked itself into my musical repertoire and became a permanent fixture, providing a wonderful landscape for all my musical tangents. Lots of people have mentioned "Take Five" and my name in the same sentence. I'm flattered, and I still do it every performance.
After that, "Blue Rondo a la Turk" was a kind of natural next step, and I really loved the process of writing an original lyric for this fascinating Brubeck song in another odd time signature.
These two performances, and my obvious affinity for Jon Hendricks, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin, George Duke, Take Six, Joe Zawinul, George Benson, and, yes, Johann Sebastian Bach (ask me later!) have helped put a label on me that I'm really proud of, a label identifying me as an adventuresome singer. And so, of course, joining Dave on stage and doing "Take Five" at the Playboy Jazz Festival was a premier highlight in my performing career. And 18,000 people thought it was pretty special, too.
I say, "Every day is Thanksgiving Day," a lot. And Dave Brubeck is an important person on my gratitude list. There are at least one or two more Dave Brubeck compositions that I'm doing a lyric for and am committed to recording ASAP.
A special thank you to all of you at the Brubeck Institute for keeping the spirit of Dave well and alive, and making me a part of the extended family.
A Brubeck Anniversary: Jazz at the College of the Pacific-Celebrating a Landmark Recording
By Keith Hatschek
On December 14,1953, the Dave Brubeck Quartet played a concert at the College of the Pacific that was immortalized on the iconic album Jazz at the College of the Pacific (Fantasy OJCCD-047-2). The esteemed jazz critic Nat Hentoff gave the recording five stars at the time of its release and wrote that it, ". . . ranks with the Oberlin and Storyville sets as the best of Brubeck on record."
Time has done little to diminish the impact of this classic live recording. The set showcases the Quartet's ability to weave melodic, rhythmic and dynamic elements into a cohesive sound that is at once both easily accessible to the casual listener while offering a depth of contrapuntal and thematic invention that merits repeated listening by the jazz aficionado.
Since his 1942 graduation from College of Pacific, aka C.O.P., pianist Dave Brubeck had grown significantly as a musician and bandleader. Wartime service, leading the first integrated U.S. Army band, finding his own compositional voice while studying on the G.I. Bill with the storied French composer Darius Milhaud, marrying Iola Whitlock, eventually starting a family, leading his ground-breaking Jazz Workshop Octet, suffering a severe neck injury body surfing in Hawaii, founding the Dave Brubeck Trio and, eventually, the Dave Brubeck Quartet- life was never dull in the Brubeck family household!
The 1953 version of the Quartet was anchored by the smooth and swinging grooves established by drummer Joe Dodge and bassist Ron Crotty. Over their rhythmic bed, the free-ranging flights of alto saxophonist Paul Desmond and Brubeck's own imaginative and singular improvisations would soar in the C.O.P. Music Conservatory's packed concert hall. The original release featured only about half of the performance, six songs (due to the time limitations of 33 1/3 LPs). While none of them was a Brubeck original, the enthusiastic response of the audience shows just how much the Quartet's interpretations connected with the student audience.
That night was the third time since his return from military service that Dave had performed in concert at his alma mater. All three of these early concerts were the result of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the men's music fraternity, raising the money to hire Dave's various groups and bring them back to campus. In 1948, his experimental Jazz Workshop Octet, formed in 1946, performed on campus, presenting their new and imaginative take on jazz standards, as well as original pieces. Looking back on the Octet's music today, it is clear that they helped to establish a totally new direction in West Coast jazz, one that would be developed along similar lines by Miles Davis soon after with his own New York-based Nonet in 1949-50. Some of the Octet's earliest pieces can be heard on Dave Brubeck Octet, also available on Fantasy.
While the Octet provided inspiration to many, finding work that paid adequately for an eight-piece ensemble proved impossible, so Dave formed a trio and in 1950, they were invited back to perform at C.O.P., for another sold-out show. In 1951, as Dave was recovering from his Hawaiian misadventure (he had been there performing with his trio with drummer Cal Tjader and Jack Weeks subbing for Ron Crotty, who had been drafted), Brubeck wrote to Paul Desmond, a former member of the Octet, seeking to start a Quartet with Paul and a rhythm section. Tjader and Weeks had been asked by Fantasy to start a new group that would go on to success as the Cal Tjader Trio. With the prolonged convalescence that Dave's neck injury required, he invited Desmond to share the solo spotlight and make his own return to performing less strenuous.
Thus, the earliest incarnation of one of the most celebrated jazz groups in history was formed out of necessity in the wake of Dave's injury. With a few changes in the rhythm section, by 1953 they had hit their stride as can be heard on the seminal recording from March 1953, Jazz at Oberlin, and their various recordings spanning 1952-54 packaged as Jazz at Storyville.
Nick Phillips, Vice President of A&R and Jazz Catalog for Concord Music Group, which acquired Fantasy Records in the early 2000's adds his own perspective:
"Brubeck's Jazz at the College of Pacific recording is both one of the most exciting and popular of his Fantasy Records-era albums - exciting for both the performances and the unbridled audience reaction to them. Along with Jazz at Oberlin, it was also pioneering: Presenting and recording jazz concerts at colleges simply wasn't done before Brubeck did it. And it inspired a generation of college students to get into jazz."
Hearing the album today, the scintillating Brubeck-Desmond interplay at the end of "All the Things You Are" and the lyrical beauty suffused in the moving rendition of "Laura" demonstrate how these masters of invention could take any musical idea and make it uniquely original and captivating. There really was musical magic being made that night in the C.O.P. concert hall. Echoing the hearty applause heard on the LP, the then-student president of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Wayne Morrill, contributed the erudite liner notes for the album, offering his appreciation from a musician's perspective, of the group's artistry. In closing, he wrote:
"So ended another memorable concert by the Brubeck group at C.O.P. We of Phi Mu Alpha and the College of Pacific are proud to have Dave as an alumnus, and to know Dave as an old friend. Dave can be sure that he and his groups have a faithful and eager audience at Pacific."
The remaining eight songs captured during that night of the concert recording languished in the vault until 2002, when Fantasy Records released them as Jazz at C.O.P. Volume 2. They may have been held back because they include a few of the arrangements featured on the earlier Oberlin LP. Writing about the additional Volume 2 set, critic Dave Rickert of All About Jazz, noted,
"Desmond gets plenty of solo time, really digging into the changes while showing a sense of humor by injecting quotes from "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" into "Love Walked In." At this point in time Brubeck was playing as rhythmically and forcefully as he ever would, and his Tatum-meets-Rachmaninoff style shows the origins of the exploratory work he would pursue later on."
Jazz Times concurred, with David Franklin noting that on the second volume the Quartet was "in top form . . . Desmond' s ideas seem inexhaustible . . . [and] Brubeck's solos overflow with invention . . . this one's a real find." Concord Music Group's Phillips offers one more reason for serious Brubeck fans to add Volume 2 to their collections:
"The CD release of Volume 2 is also illuminating in that it features a significant bonus track, a rare recorded performance by Brubeck while he was a C.O.P. student. Recorded in 1942, Brubeck's jazz solo piano rendition of 'I Found a New Baby' is an incredible display of musicality and jaw-dropping virtuosity."
So to experience the whole night's performance, albeit out of order from the actual fourteen-song set list that night, you'll need to buy both albums, which are readily available. The bonus performance from 1942 is the cherry on top.
Meanwhile, Dave's legacy is in good hands today. In 1999, Dave and his wife Iola, also a graduate of Pacific, selected what became University of the Pacific to be the home for the Brubeck Institute. The institute continues to support the Brubecks' mission to foster jazz education and scholarship, a commitment to bettering the world around us and a celebration of mankind's own interconnectedness, often using jazz and music as the point of connection and conversations.
It may have been a half century ago that this notable piece of jazz history was recorded here in Stockton, California, but the Quartet's playing sounds as fresh and vibrant today as it did then. Here's to celebrating a singular night of jazz well worth remembering fifty years on.
Keith Hatschek, is the director of the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music's Music Management Program. He is working on a book about Dave and Iola Brubeck's jazz musical, "The Real Ambassadors." He has written two books on the music industry and is a contributing writer to a music blog. This piece was written for the Rifftides jazz blog and is reprinted here with permission.
Ben Flocks, is a saxophonist, composer and educator from Santa Cruz, currently living in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was a Brubeck Fellow in 2007-08 and 2008-2009. He shared the memory of meeting Dave Brubeck for the first time and another written Dec. 6, 2012, upon hearing of Dave Brubeck's death. (http://www.benflocks.com/)
Meeting Dave Brubeck, 2007: Dave Brubeck is my hero. The opportunity to play music with him and learn from him was one of the greatest honors I've ever had.
I remember the first time I played with Dave Brubeck. Dave was visiting Stockton, Calif., and we had a rehearsal in Owen Hall at University of
|Dave and Iola Brubeck share a moment with former Brubeck Fellow Ben Flocks. Photo courtesy of Ben Flocks.|
the Pacific with the Brubeck Institute Jazz
Quintet for an upcoming show at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York City. Dave sat down at the piano and we rehearsed Duke Ellington's "Take the A Train," which we were set to perform. After we played the song, Dave said, "You guys are so burning!"
Everyone in the band couldn't stop smiling, we were all having so much fun. Rehearsal was scheduled to end, but Dave wanted to keep playing with us, so we jammed on a few more tunes. I'll never forget the way Dave made us feel. I've never known a kinder and more joyful person. He was a positive influence on everyone around him.
Dec 6, 2012: Last night I heard the incredible Cuban pianist Chucho Valdez play alongside three other piano masters at Carnegie Hall. Of all the amazing music that was played, there was one moment in the concert that struck me. At the end of an extended improvisation, Chucho played the melody from Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo A La Turk."
Today, I'm extremely saddened to hear news of Dave's passing. Dave was the most beautiful person I've ever met, always smiling and always playing music. Dave had a profound and positive impact on musicians and people all over the world. He has been my hero since I met him when I was 15, and while studying at the Brubeck Institute I met people I'll love forever and had experiences that I'll never forget.
My thoughts are with all of Dave's family and friends. Thank you Dave Brubeck, we'll keep playing music and loving life just as you did every day.
Glenn Zaleski, a jazz pianist, composer and educator originally from Boylston, Mass., now living in Brooklyn, N.Y., and plays in the Mark Zaleski Band (http://www.markzaleskimusic.com/). He was a Brubeck Fellow in 2005-06 and 2006-07. (http://www.glennzaleski.com/index1.htm)
Remembering Dave Brubeck - Five Great Records
I first heard Dave Brubeck in 2000 when I was in the eighth grade. His quartet was playing in Worcester, Mass., at Mechanics Hall. This was the band with Bobby Militello, John Dankworth and Randy Jones. The concert was magic, with an explosive energy and focus. I was captivated throughout the whole concert in a way that I had never felt before. From that moment I was completely hooked on Dave's music: I bought every record that I could find, bought every LP that wasn't yet re-released on CD, learned every tune I heard him play. I really became a "superfan."
In 2005, after five years of study and practice inspired by Dave's music, I was honored to be selected as a Brubeck Institute Fellow. While studying at the Brubeck Institute, I met the musicians who would become my best friends and strongest musical inspirations, I studied with the most amazing musicians currently on the scene, and I had international performance opportunities, and even got to know and work with Dave himself. My time spent there was honestly a dream come true.
Dave's music represents an unwavering commitment to personal creativity, but also balanced with an endearment that touched millions of people across the globe. Anyone could listen to the music of Dave Brubeck and feel the heart in it. This is what I felt at my first Dave Brubeck concert experience in 2000, what inspired me and thousands of others to pursue their creative passion, and what will continue to inspire listeners for years to come.
Here are five records of Dave's that are particularly inspiring to me:
"Brubeck Plays Brubeck" (1956)
Dave wrote nine tunes, recorded solo piano versions of them in his house, and released it on Columbia Records in 1956 as "Brubeck Plays Brubeck." The result is one of the great solo piano records: every tune is original, but every tune feels like a classic. (Of course, "In Your Own Sweet Way" and "The Duke" did go on to become classics, but their original recordings appear here.) Dave's solo playing is crystal clear, often blurring the line between "melody" and "improvisation." Every track listens like an entirely composed piece, but also maintains a casual, "just playing in your living room" sentiment.
"Jazz Impressions of the USA" (1957)
This is my personal favorite of the "Jazz Impressions" series that Dave recorded for Columbia Records. The compositions stand out among Dave's strongest for the quartet. "Plain Song" is one of the wildest minor blues heads you would ever hear. And to close this record is "Home At Last," which is another solo piano classic that Dave recorded in his California home. (This track was basically a textbook for jazz piano harmony for me, with drop two's, walking 10ths, upper structure triads, and inner voice.) Fortunately, this classic record recently became available on CD/iTunes!
"Dave Digs Disney" (1957)
One of the first jazz records to explore Disney music (which wasn't that old then!), Dave's quartet captures the joyful energy of these beautiful melodies in a way that no other quartet could. And some of Dave's solo playing on this record is absolute magic: the piano intro on "Someday My Prince Will Come," and the outro on "When You Wish Upon a Star" are some of Dave's best recorded playing, absolutely virtuosic.
"At Carnegie Hall" (1963)
Although the classic DBQ (Dave Brubeck Quartet) is known for its "cool" records of the late-'50s and -'60s, this record captures the explosive energy that they would produce in a live concert. "Southern Scene" is particularly beautiful and one of Dave's lesser known tunes. And "Blue Rondo a la Turk" is unforgettable. Paul's solo is as classic as his "Time Out" take, and Dave's solo takes its time, building into an amazing double time. This is a must- hear.
"The Duets" (1975)
The chemistry between Paul Desmond and Dave Brubeck is felt on this record in a more personal way than almost any other. Dave and Paul are basking in each other's sounds, working together to create a duo sound that could only result from years of experience together. "Koto Song" is one of my favorites on this record, a rare example of Dave and Paul exploring more open improvisation.
This piece was posted on the Brubeck Institute blog (http://brubeckinstitute.wordpress.com/) just days after Dave Brubeck's death. It is reprinted here with permission.
Joe Gilman, artist in residence at the Brubeck Institute, is a full-time professor of music at American River College in Sacramento, and an adjunct professor of jazz studies at California State University, Sacramento. (http://www.joegilman.com/)
The world mourns the loss of our beloved teacher and mentor Dave Brubeck this week.
I am not a member of Dave's biological family. If you were to ask my parents, I may as well have been. Dave was my musical father and role model. I was introduced to Dave's music by chance on a televised program in 1976 on PBS. It was a 25th anniversary reunion tour of the DBQ (Dave Brubeck Quartet). Of course, I fell in love with "Take Five" and immediately went to Tower Records and purchased "Time Out." Other than "Charlie Brown Christmas," this was my first exposure to jazz.
Jazz piano lessons began immediately. I practiced "Take Five," "Blue Rondo," "Three to Get Ready" et al. for months. Several more Brubeck records followed. By 1978 I was entirely hooked on jazz. Thank you, Mr. Brubeck.
After devoting my life to music as an educator for 20 years, I serendipitously began a series of positions at the Brubeck Institute, including instructor, director of the Fellowship Program, artistic director of the Summer Jazz Colony, and artist in residence of the Brubeck Institute.
To the greater general public, Dave was that hip and cerebral jazz cat from the 1950s who recorded "Take Five." A jazz icon. To many jazz musicians, Dave was a fine composer, exceptional bandleader, innovative pianist, and craftsman of brilliantly produced acoustic jazz recordings. A jazz master. To those more familiar with Dave's extended body of work, they will tell of his tremendous humanitarian efforts across the globe and his band leading of some of the first military and commercial racially integrated jazz ensembles. In my unique position with the Brubecks and at the Institute, I would like to tell you more.
More than any other jazz musician in the past 100 years, Dave Brubeck has created a legacy. A legacy that even arguably surpasses Ives, Gershwin, Bernstein, and Ellington. A cultural legacy. A legacy of connections. A legacy that transcends generational, cultural and geographical boundaries.
Here are the names of all of the Brubeck Fellows over the past 10 years. There have only been 37 students. Perhaps you recognize some of the names. You should if you appreciate jazz from the younger generation: Justin Brown, Joe Sanders, Tommy Morimoto, Fabian Almazan, Anthony Coleman II, Tobin Chodos, Mark Zaleski, Scott McGinty, Sean McGinty, Dominic Thiroux, Hayden Hawkins, Josh Gallagher, Peter Spear, Colin Stranahan, Glenn Zaleski, Lucas Pino, Brian Chahley, Chris Smith, Cory Cox, Ben Flocks, Javier Santiago, Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, Zach Brown, Adam Arruda, Corey Fonville, Noah Kellman, Nick Frenay, Colin McDaniel, Sam Crowe, Bill Vonderhaar, Alec Watson, Tree Palmedo, Rane Roatta, Tom Kelly, Malachi Whitson, Adam Goldman and Paul Bloom.
The Dave Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony has now enrolled more than 150 students ages of 14-18. There are far too many to list here, but a few notables include Grace Kelly, Eldar Djangirov, Matt Marantz, Ben Van Gelder and Marcus Gilmore.
It is only through Dave Brubeck's legacy that these young people met and created beautiful music together before moving on to all parts of the world to begin to shape the musical landscape of the 21st century.
My children, who are now 6 and 11, are still unfamiliar with the music of Dave Brubeck. But to them "Brubeck" means a cool summer hang in Stockton where those high school kids from around the country with unbelievable talent make remarkable music together, and then travel back home to share the experience with their friends. This is possible only through the legacy of Dave Brubeck. "Brubeck" means more than jazz.
Believe me, when you hear any number of the most successful jazz acts in the world today, you are hearing a onetime Brubeck Fellow or Colonist, or an innovation created by Dave Brubeck in the past 50 years.
Because of the Brubeck legacy, these fellows and colonists of awe-inspiring talent and dedication were able to meet, play and be mentored by their idols, a list which now includes, but is not limited to;
Christian McBride, Stefon Harris, Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Robert Glasper, Joshua Redman, Roy Hargrove, Kenny Werner, Fred Hersch, Darius Brubeck, Geoff Keezer, Danilo Perez, Taylor Eigsti, Donald Brown, Mark Levine, Gerald Clayton, Orrin Evans, Benny Green, Robert Rodriguez, Sam Yahel, Bobby Militello, Jimmy Heath, Bob Mintzer, Yosvany Terry, Bobby Watson, Bennie Maupin, Greg Tardy, Jim Snidero, Anton Schwartz, Vincent Herring, Miguel Zenon, Stacy Dillard, Donny McCaslin, Walter Smith III, Chris Cheek, Dayna Stephens, Willie Akins, Ingrid Jensen, Ralph Alessi, Brian Lynch, Marvin Stamm, Mike Rodriguez, Gilbert Castellanos, Ambrose Akinmusire, Sean Jones, Michael Moore, Robert Hurst, Jeff Chambers, Rufus Reid, Marcus Shelby, Matt Penman, Essiet Essiet, Ray Drummond, Larry Grenadier, Harish Raghavan, Willem von Hombracht, Randy Jones, Ndugu Chancler, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, Joe Chambers, Lewis Nash, Dan Brubeck, Eric Harland, Jeff Ballard, Karriem Riggins, Montez Coleman, Akira Tana, Matt Slocum, Chris Brubeck, Conrad Herwig, John Fedchock, Wayne Wallace, Steven Erquiaga, Anthony Wilson, Paul Bollenback, Cleo Laine, Dena DeRose, Bill Smith, Christian Tamburr, Madeline Eastman, Michael Weiss, and the best talent in the San Francisco Bay area.
And not only did these fine mentors influence the colonists and fellows. Through the legacy of Dave Brubeck and the cross-fertilization of ideas of creative people coming together, these world class artists themselves have become energized with a feeling of renewal and hope for a brighter future in our music and in our world by knowing that there are talented, passionate, loving and caring youth ready to carry the torch and help to find new journeys, stories, new fusions of sounds of the world's cultures. How many times have I heard from these great artists: "What's happening at Brubeck?" "What are the Brubeck Fellows up to this year?" "Can you give me the number of that kid from two years ago?"
Only through Dave Brubeck's legacy would some of the greatest educational organizers in the world - JB Dyas, Michael O'Daniel, Steve Anderson, Andrew Schniederman, Simon Rowe, Nick Fryer, and great friends such as Bart Marantz - come together with Dave's guidance and inspiration to build a hub of creative connectivity at the University of the Pacific.
My wife, who is from a rural community in Southern Thailand called Nakhorn si Tammarat, had never heard of Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Gershwin or Ellington, but she knew Dave Brubeck. Dave's legacy transcends cultural borders and brings happiness, joy and love to our neighbors around the world.
Although Dave has passed from this life and into eternal life, his works and messages are clear for the rest of us to follow. Bring people together, build communities, challenge the accepted, and affect social change through music and creativity.
Thank you again Dave.
The author's tribute was posted on the Brubeck Institute blog the day after Dave Brubeck's death on what would have been his 92nd birthday. It is reprinted here with permission.
About the Brubeck Institute:
The Brubeck Institute was established by the University of the Pacific in 2000 to honor its distinguished alumni, Dave and Iola Brubeck. The mission of the institute is to build on Dave Brubeck's legacy and his lifelong dedication to music, creativity, education, and the advancement of important social issues including civil rights, environmental concerns, international relations and social justice. The Institute maintains five programs, including the Brubeck Collection, the Brubeck Fellowship, the Brubeck Festival, Summer Jazz Colony, and the Brubeck Outreach Program. More information: www.BrubeckInstitute.org.