The Brubeck Festival 2005
Just as in 2004, The Brubeck Festival 2005 had a central theme, creativity and composition. As with past festivals, there were lectures, academic symposia, discussions, and concerts. Many of the concerts featured new compositions, and most performed for the first time.
The keynote address was "The Interdependence of Composition and Improvisation in Dave Brubeck's Creative Process" by Stephen Crist from Emory University. Other presentations included "Music and Perception" by David Chase from the Conservatory of Music, "Creativity and Composition" by Renee Rosnes and Matt Penman, pianist and bassist with the SFJazz Collective, and "The Music of Dave Brubeck: An Analysis" by Joe Gilman from American River College in Sacramento.
The first concert of the Festival was called "The Cutting Edge" and featured The Talujon Percussion Quartet doing works by Guerguerian, Donato, Xenakis, and Tan Dun. There were also two spectacular works for three-channel video and stereo sound by Jean Piche called Bharat and eXpress. The final work was the premier of In Stillness, an exceptional work for live computer and video and violin by Robert Coburn of the Conservatory faculty with Linda Wang, also of the Conservatory, on violin.
The Young Sounds of San Joaquin, directed by Brian Kendrick, played several standards, and The Brubeck Institute Jazz Sextet with special guest Christian McBride, played original compositions and new arrangements of Brubeck compositions. The Pacific Jazz Ensemble, directed by Patrick Langham, again with Christian McBride as guest soloist, performed tunes by McBride, Chris Brubeck, and others. The SFJazz Collective, with Joshua Redman, tenor sax, Bobby Hutcherson, vibraphone, Nicholas Payton, trumpet, Renee Rosnes, piano, Miguel Zenon, alto sax, Eric Harland, drums, Matt Penman, bass, and Isaac Smith, trombone, gave a spectacular concert of works by John Coltrane, arranged by Gil Goldstein, and originals by members of the Collective.
In a return to Mills College in Oakland, where Dave Brubeck studied with Darius Milhaud, there was a concert of music by Quartet San Francisco featuring arrangements of Brubeck originals, and a performance by The New Brubeck Octet, with special guest Bill Smith on clarinet. The original Octet was organized in the spring of 1946 as a co-operative ensemble with each musician conducting and rehearsing the band in his own work. Most of that group - Dave Brubeck, Bill Smith, David van Kriedt, Jack Weeks, and Dick Collins - were arrangers and composers as well as instrumentalists. They explored counterpoint, polytonality, polyrhythms, and new forms, striving to write arrangements that were interesting as composition, but still reflected the style of the soloist and left the improviser free to create. The New Brubeck Octet, specifically created for Brubeck Festival 2005, was comprised of the six Brubeck Institute Fellowship recipients, two students from Brubeck's first alma mater, University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music, and again featured Bill Smith on clarinet.
Two other concerts completed the Festival. First was the premier of Chris Brubeck's extraordinary new work Mark Twain's World: A Symphonic Journey with Genuine Thespians. This monumental work for orchestra and actors tells the life story on Mark Twain and was performed by the Stockton Symphony Orchestra conducted by Peter Jaffe, and actors from the Stockton Civic Theatre directed by Al Muller. The closing concert featured Dave Brubeck's Points on Jazz, performed by Ballet NY, with choreography by Dorothy Percival, and with Joe Gilman and Joshua Gallagher at the piano. The Joe Gilman Trio and Dave Brubeck at the piano and Christian McBride on bass closed the program.
The Brubeck Festival 2005 was organized and produced by J.B. Dyas, Executive Director of the Brubeck Institute.