It’s a rainy day today in this part of the world and nothing is better than the sounds of Take Five by Dave Brubeck the master of cool jazz. Credit to http://www.youtube.com/user/TheDathi for this video. My mother was a classical pianist that played jazz standards and show tunes. I would say I knew more about Hammerstein and Beethoven, before jazz. My introduction to listening to real jazz did not arrive until my late 20s, when I dated a musician who was a teacher by day and competitive jazz and blues musician at night. Through him, I learned how to listen to jazz, every instrument, every rhythm, every beat and improvisation. It was a wonderful learning experience that grew to deeper levels overtime through exploration of the music. I will never forget how this brilliant musician, with a PHD in music and a masters in education, played at least 5 nights a week, but still could not make a record deal, yet continued doing what he loved. Such is the life of jazz and classical musicians everywhere, you have to be extremely brilliant, gifted or just darn lucky!
Dave Brubeck was born in December 6, 1920 and was the son of a classical pianist mom and a rancher dad in Concord, California. Although, his mom studied with a great British classical pianist, it seems she did not get to enjoy a classical pianist career and became a teacher as well. She taught Dave and two of his siblings piano, but Dave had no interest in becoming a musician. Brubeck worked with his father on the ranch and originally studied to be a veterinary when his professor told him to forget it, because his head was more in the conservatory than his veterinarian studies. Dave changed his major to music and it was not until he was up for graduation that his teacher realized he could not read music. He was allowed to graduate on the condition that he could never teach music. Brubeck was drafted into the Army and was the first to create an integrated band in the Arm Forces. He seemed to have had a tremendous respect for African-American jazz artist. He believed in the diversity of music so deeply that he cancelled events and TV shows on several occasions that refused to accept his integrated bands.
To write about the life and times of Dave Brubeck, will take quite some time and a number of pages. The man died in Connecticut in 2012! He was 91 years old with many accomplishments. What a wonderful full life! So, I will end with this, Take Five was a part of an extraordinary album called Time Out. His album covers featured the abstract art work of Joan Miro and Frank Kline and Sam Francis. It was also the first jazz album to sell over a million copies and that says a lot for a jazz musician who could not read music! Like I said, you have to brilliant, gifted or just darn lucky to get a record deal. Looks like Dave Brubeck had it all.