RIP Dave Brubeck

As a point of personal privilege, allow me to nod memorially in the direction of Dave Brubeck on the occasion of his passing. I didn’t encounter his music until long after the plasticity of my very modest skills at the piano were hardened by age and cemented by laziness and irresolution, so I can’t claim that he influenced my life as a pianist. But his style and musical temperament both exerted enormous shaping pressure on my own aesthetic inclinations, musical and otherwise, in the formative years my early 20s. With Bill Evans, Brubeck stands as a monument to and example of America’s most enduring contributions to artistic culture and aesthetic satisfaction.

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  1. CVH wrote:

    I was saddened by Dave Brubeck’s passing yesterday but not completely surprised. He was a day short of his 92nd birthday and had been in declining health the last couple of years.

    I grew up listening to Brubeck. My father was a professional pianist and a big fan of Brubeck’s style and creativity. We had just about every record he put out including a few 78’s and pre-Columbia releases. My favorites have always been the records he did for Columbia that Teo Macero produced. Each one contained a few gems - not just the songs that became hits but tunes influenced by different cultures and social trends, even a record of his take on Disney classics. In fact, their “Live at Carnagie Hall” two-disc set is still considered a jazz standard nearly fifty years later.

    I saw him perform a number of times and each show was outstanding. The last time was two years ago. He was quite frail and his voice was scratchy and weak. But he still had a wry sense of humor and from the downbeat of the first song to the standing ovations that went on for a solid five minutes, he played with energy, fury and at times, disciplined restraint. He was in total control of the moment and he did not disappoint.

    There have been and are and will be great jazz pianists but there’ll never be another Dave Brubeck.

  2. Wade wrote:

    Only at AFL can you talk about The McKameys and Dave Brubeck… was fortunate enough enough very young to be able to play professionally and it was most jazz.

    Think every pianist I played with copied his lickz!!


    You are luck cvh to have been able to see him so many times and recently… almost 92 is a LONG TIME, especially for a touring musician!!! LoL ;-)

    THE LIFESTYLE will take a few years off the back end of your life and sometimes a BIG section of the MIDDLE!!! ;-)

  3. RF wrote:

    Saw Brubeck with the WV Symphony a few years ago. He was in his 80’s, but had lost none of his skill. I was saddened by his loss. There are, unfortunately, no more Brubecks to be found these days, and it reminded me of the talent loss in sg, not from death, but for other reasons. I miss lots of folks.

  4. NG wrote:

    Thanks Wade. Didn’t know Brubeck played for the McKameys or did I misread that?

  5. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    Dave Brubeck was a rare breed. Few pianists have been so inventive with the 88s. He was my favorite jazz pianist.

    When I was working on my undergraduate degree back in the mid-1980s, I and another student performed Brubeck’s comedic twelve-tone piece “I See Satie” complete with lyrics for a banquet.

    I also used one of his pieces for an electronic music assignment when I was completing my MA degree in Music Theory.

    I own several of his recordings. My favorite is probably his take on “Sweet Georgia Brown” from _In Their Own Sweet Way_.

    Hear it here:

  6. RF wrote:

    Simply wonderful, DBM. What a genius on the keyboard!

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