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National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – December 5 – Dave Brubeck

No Comments 05 December 2012

Wow Folks,

I’m not really sure where to start today. We’ve got a smacking new DPD and its left me with mixed emotions.

The world lost Dave Brubeck today. He was a monster of jazz and of American music in general. His famous “Take Five” was the first jazz single to sell a million copies.

For yours truly listening to Dave Brubeck while playing backyard wiffle ball shattered the way I thought about music.

In an age of experimentation, he did something rare: “He made the avant-garde into something fun and lighthearted,” wrote jazz historian and former Stanford lecturer Ted Gioia. Take Five” is in 5/4 rhythm, “Blue Rondo a la Turk”  is in 9/8. But that was just semantics for Brubeck. He was more interested in what made people move. “The Duke,” which runs through 12 keys in its first eight measures is easy as hell to whistle.

In essence he made a seemingly complex and incomprehensible form of music accessible by allowing the rest of us to experience it the same way he did.

He remained a modest and open-minded man to the end. In 2007, when this writer asked him if he listened to hip-hop, he answered, “I don’t think so, though my grandkids are always listening. But I learned from Duke Ellington; we were being interviewed, and they asked us what we thought of rock ‘n’ roll, and I was really kind of not a big fan of rock ‘n’ roll early on. But Duke’s answer, I’ll never forget, was, ‘It must be good, or the American public wouldn’t go for it so much.'”

Say day. But take 5 tonight and remember the coolness of a sunny afternoon listening to Brubeck – and possible cranking a hanging curve over the left field bushes into the neighbor’s yard.

Jazz legend Dave Brubeck, dead at 91
By Richard Scheinin
rscheinin@mercurynews.com
Posted: 12/05/2012

To see pianist Dave Brubeck in recent years — up on stage, say, at the Monterey Jazz Festival, striding with his band through “Take Five,” his most famous tune — one might have thought he would play forever. That thick shock of white hair. That electric smile. Those sturdy fingers on the keys. Continue


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