TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF DONATION WEEK
Yes, finally - this is the final day of the TGB annual donation drive to help support the costs of maintaining Time Goes By. You can read the details on last Monday's post.
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This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
Dave was destined to be a cattle rancher like his father, but his mother, a piano teacher, taught him (and his brothers) to play piano. He went to college to study veterinary science but switched to music.
The war intervened, he was drafted and after hearing him play, the bigwigs in the army ordered him to start a band. Around about then he met his long-time band member Paul Desmond.
There’s a lot more to his background than I have room to cover. He eventually started his famous quartet with Paul on alto sax, Eugene Wright on bass and Joe Morello on drums. Let’s hear them.
I’ll start with something from an album with which you might be familiar. It’s the follow up to his most famous album. When you’re on a good thing, I think was Dave’s thought process.
The album is “Time Further Out”, and the tune is It's a Raggy Waltz, in the not too unusual time signature of 3/4 time.
Besides their being half the quartet, Dave and Paul Desmond recorded some albums as a duo. One of those was called, rather unimaginatively, “Dave Brubeck & Paul Desmond ~ The Duets”. From that we have a tune you’ll all know, one of the most recorded ever: Stardust.
The quartet went into middle-of-the-road territory with the album “Angel Eyes”. Of course, their middle-of-the-road is far superior to most who perform this style of music.
On this album they play other people’s tunes. I think they should stick to their own as they are far more innovative and interesting. However, this isn’t bad for late night listening in front of the fire (or air conditioner), glass of wine in hand, and other things nearby. Here is Angel Eyes.
JIMMY RUSHING was a long time singer in the Count Basie orchestra.
He had a wide range in his vocals and could sing tenor all the way down to baritone. He could also sing the blues with the best of them. He teamed up with the Dave Brubeck Quartet to record an album called “Brubeck & Rushing”, and from that one we have the old Fats Waller song Ain't Misbehavin'.
Here is Dave on his own playing his own music from an album prosaically titled “Brubeck Plays Brubeck”. The tune is called When I Was Young.
The quartet that played at the Berlin Philharmonie in 1970 wasn’t his usual quartet. This one consisted of the great baritone saxophonist GERRY MULLIGAN along with Alan Dawson on drums and Jack Six on bass.
The song I’ve selected from that concert is the old Limehouse Blues. As is obvious, this is a live recording which features Gerry quite prominently. Of course, there’s also quite a bit of fine piano playing by Dave.
The next is included for my friend Ann, it’s her favourite song. It’s another nice gentle-by-the-fire sort of tune - one you all know, Georgia on My Mind.
Here is another vocal track, there aren’t too many of these, and what a vocalist he has: TONY BENNETT.
Dave and Tony were invited to the White House back in 1962. This was when there was a real president in residence. Their concert was recorded and I decided to go with Tony’s most famous song, I Left My Heart in San Francisco.
A further example of when you’re on a good thing, something else from “Time Further Out”. From that album we have Unsquare Dance, in 7/4 time.
Dave and the quartet recorded several albums called Jazz Impressions of… Fill in the dots with various places. One of those places, and the most successful of this series, is “Jazz Impressions of New York”. From that we get Autumn in Washington Square.
You knew this one had to be present, so I won’t disappoint you. Take Five started as a drum vamp by Joe, but Paul took it on board and the following day came up with the finished tune.
In keeping with the album, his is in 5/4 time, thus the name. In his will, he died in 1977, Paul left the royalties for the tune to the Red Cross and they have received in the region of a hundred grand each year since then.