Sunday, December 06, 2020

May You Live In Interesting Times: Dave Brubeck 100

Happy Sunday and welcome to the final month of 2020, where December will indeed be magic again.
We are kicking it off with a majestic milestone birthday for another foundational pillar of the firmament.

He is not even gone that long -- he passed in 2012 as he completed his 92nd year, having lived a long life no one can ever forget -- but in his own, sweet way he left an imprint as indelible as any other's.
It's just not close to possible to overestimate the impact of his music and his exploratory attitudes and ideas have had since he first led a band in the late 1940s (!!!!).
The central figure in the expansion of Jazz and really all of global popular music into the odd-metered arena of the non-standard time signature, the impact of his classic quartet recordings with the equally-as-firmamental Joe Morello, Paul Desmond and Eugene Wright -- still, 60 years on, some of the topselling and most revered LPs in the entire idiom of Jazz and American music -- is akin sonically to a seismic event of tectonic-demolishing proportions.
One of those players and composers that hits people equally in the head and the heart, I can't think of a single tune of his I've ever heard that wasn't inventive in some sort of novel way that made me dance and metaphorically stroke my beard thoughtfully at the same time.
I was reading that early on at college, he couldn't read music properly but he could write it, or at least get contrapuntal and harmonic ideas down on paper so striking that they caused his instructors allow him to graduate on the sole condition he promise them never to become a piano teacher.
Well, we can see how all that turned out.
I have adored his music since I first placed Time Out upon a turntable and dropped the stylus on it... at the advanced age of about three-and-a-half. Thanks, Dad.
So Dave Brubeck would have turned 100 today, and you bet he saw, lived through and helped to enrich beyond all measure the wildest, most revolutionary century in human history. At least thusfar.
You can also bet that we have the goodies to make the day really pop, as a centenary surely must to go the full, triple-digit widget.
In keeping with the polymetric trickery, we have two shows over three discs, recorded a very eventful quarter century apart, that are tragically undercirculated but monumentally worthy of any in the man's mind-expanding aboveground catalog.
The first is a very celebrated -- yet somehow never officially released -- 1972 reunion with saxophone colossi Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond, which is not sourced from one of the boot CDs that have been around, but is recreated here by me from the same sources the slimy bootleggers used.
The second is from the indescribably delicious and long-running radio program Piano Jazz, which finds our hero hosted by and duetting with the absolute queen of, well, piano jazz (yes I will do a post just on her career someday soonly), the late Marian McPartland. This isn't the one from 1984 that has been legitimately issued... this is the 1997 one, which has never yet seen the light of day.
Dave Brubeck Trio + Paul Desmond & Gerry Mulligan
Berlin, Germany

01 Blues for Newport
02 All the Things You Are
03 For All We Know
04 Line for Lyons
05 Blessed Are the Poor (The Sermon On the Mount)
06 Mexican Jumping Bean
07 Sign Off
08 Someday My Prince Will Come
09 These Foolish Things
10 Truth
11 Unfinished Woman
12 Take Five
13 Take the "A" Train

Total time: 1:50:51
disc break goes after Track 07

Dave Brubeck - piano
Paul Desmond - alto saxophone
Gerry Mulligan - baritone saxophone
Jack Six - bass 
Alan Dawson - drums & bells

Tracks 01-09 & 13 are 16/44 PCM Audio extracted from a PAL DVD of an unspecified European satellite TV rebroadcast;
Tracks 10, 11 & 12 reintegrated & sonically matched to the remainder using tracks from We're All Together Again for the First Time 
(the official 1973 live album of this tour on Atlantic Records) by EN, December 2020
Dave Brubeck
Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland
Borders Books & Music
Washington, D.C. USA

01 "Piano Jazz" intro/conversation
02 Just You, Just Me
03 conversation
04 Thank You
05 conversation
06 Marian McPartland
07 conversation
08 In Your Own Sweet Way
09 conversation
10 Summer Song
11 conversation
12 Desert and Parched Land
13 conversation
14 One Moment Worth Years
15 conversation
16 St. Louis Blues

Total time: 55:49

Dave Brubeck - piano
Marian McPartland - piano

digital capture of a December 2010 FM rebroadcast
294 MB FLAC here
I'm figuring out what to post the rest of the month/year but don't worry... I have something like 10,000 concerts, so I should be able to pull something out of my pumpkin, once it quits barking. There will probably be burnt weeny sandwiches and perhaps even a case of stinkfoot, though.
While you wait patiently in the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen, you can pass these strange times with the Maestro of them all -- shucks, 5/4, 7/8, 13/4, and all the others that are even more fractionally fractious  -- tributed here for his hundredth b'day celebration with this pair of indispensable sets I know you'll find as swinging as they are cerebral.--J.
12.6.1920 - 12.5.2012

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