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  sheila e ross

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Jazz Reviews on JazzNet247 Radio Europe

Artist : Dave Brubeck

Album : Time Out

Year : 1959

Label : Columbia

dave brubeck

: Dave Brubeck : Piano | Paul Chambers : Saxophone | Eugene Wright : Bass | Joe Morello : Drums

David Warren Brubeck was born in 1920 in Concord, California and was considered to be one of the leading exponents of 'West Coast Jazz' or 'Cool Jazz'. He had a cult following in the universities amongst others. His style ranged from the 'refined to the experimental' and his mother's classical training was evident in many of his compositions whilst his own improvisational skills were ground braking for superimposing contrasting rhythms, meters and tonalities.

The year 2020 celebrates his 'Centennial Year' and we are pleased to include tracks from Dave and his sons Chris and Dan as part of the Brubeck Brothers Quartet on our Connoisseur Jazz Show No.105. His other son Darius used to play with Dave, Chris and Dan in The New Brubeck Quartet.

To celebrate his life and legacy, Chris and Dan have curated a multimedia show to be played at the concerts with The Brubeck Brothers Quartet. Through stories told by his sons, video interviews with Dave and musicians he influenced and music performed by the Quartet, the show invites audiences to travel along the timeline of Dave’s extraordinary life and career.

Notable confirmed performances for 2020 include the world famous New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the Hollywood Bowl, where they will be joined by special guests Joey DeFrancesco and Bobby Militello. (With the current virus restrictions check the venues for current updates - 03/2020)

Dave's academic career started in veterinary science at the College Of The Pacific in Stockton, CA but his lecturer, a Dr Arnold told Dave to change to a musical career path as 'his mind was clearly not on his veterinary studies'. He did move across and was even expelled when one of his professors discovered that he couldn't read music on sight. However some of the other professors came forward stating that his ability to write counterpoint and harmony more than compensated for this and he should be given another chance which was the outcome, albeit with the proviso that 'he never taught piano'.

Dave was drafted into the army in 1942 and after volunteering to play for the Red Cross, his shows were such a big hit that he was asked to form a band which became known as The Wolfpack. It was during this time that he met saxman Paul Desmond in 1944 who was to become his sideman for many albums and concerts in the future including 'Time Out'.

In 1951 Dave damaged several neck vertebrae and his spinal cord whilst diving into the surf in Hawaii. He would later remark that the rescue workers who responded had described him as a "DOA" (dead on arrival). He recovered after a few months but suffered with residual nerve pain in his hands for years thereafter. The injury also influenced his playing style towards complex, blocky chords rather than speedy, high-dexterity, single-note runs.

In 1954, he was featured on the cover of Time Magazine, the second jazz musician to be so honored (the first was Louis Armstrong in 1949).  Dave found this accolade embarrassing since he considered Duke Ellington far more deserving of it and was convinced that he had been favoured for being 'Caucasian'. Duke Ellington himself knocked on the door of Dave's hotel room to show him the cover and the only reaction Dave could give was 'It should have been you Duke'.

Dave Brubeck was a pioneer already before Time Out was released in 1959 and 'it was the first album to really explore the uncharted seas of compound time' states Steve Race on his cover notes. Some artists before him, notably Benny Carter and Max Roach had experimented in 3/4 waltz time but Dave went further and found even more exotic time signatures by laying one rhythm in counterpoint over another.

Time Out was to blend three cultures together, i.e. Western music, African folk music and in the case of 'Blue Rondo A La Turk' which leads off side 1 of the LP, Turkish folk rhythms. One of the most iconic songs on the album was the 5/4 time 'Take Five' but the Columbia executives and engineers at the time who had been more accustomed to the usual 4/4 time signature thought that this unusual style was 'experimental, avant-garde and perhaps unacceptable' to a large record buying public.

How wrong could they have been with hindsight as the album is regarded as one of the best selling jazz works of all time wherby Dave has fused key elements of jazz such as swing and improvisation with classical and regional forms such as fugue and rondo, but at the same time introducing complex and unusual numbers of beats to the bar. The result was music that now enjoys 'cult status', it was revoluntionary, yet remained 'cool and elegant'.

Joining Dave on Time Out were the aformentioned Paul Desmond on sax, Eugene Wright on bass and Joe Morello on drums and the set was produced by Teo Macero and engineered by Fred Plaut between June and August of 1959.

Composer Paul Desmond thought the track Take Five was a kind of a 'throwaway album filler track' and was ready to trade the entire rights of the song for a used Ronson electric shaver. We are glad that he didn't as he donated the rights of the song to the Red Cross upon his death in 1977 and the song earns in the region of $100,000 p.a. for them.

When Columbia released the album it was with little promotion and Dave thought that it would become a 'dust covered relic', however two presenters. one in Cleveland and one in Chicago liked it and played tracks from the album on air and the public then demanded that their local record stores stock it.

The album continued to enjoy steady sales until Take Five was released as a single in 1961 and the album rose to 2nd in the US Billboard Pop Album Charts and the single Take Five climbed to 25th in the US Pop Singles Chart and reached a Top 10 position in the UK.

The album became a hit, not only in the USA, but worldwide and Dave joined an exalted array of artists to do so such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and a few others.

Dave Brubeck passed away in 2012 at the age of 91 but has left his own wonderful legacy behind.  ^

Review by Wes George
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Similar Artists -
Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Oscar peterson, Count Basi, herbie Hancock, Diana Krall, Lennie Tristano, Jeff Lorber

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