Thursday, 6 December 2012

RIP Dave Brubeck

Today would have been the ninety-second birthday of the jazz pianist Dave Brubeck who died yesterday morning in Conneticut.

I know people who say they don't like jazz but who listen to Brubeck, mainly because of the ridiculously catchy Take Five, written by altoist Paul Desmond and featuring Joe Morello on drums, from Time Out, the 1959 release that became the first jazz album to sell a million copies.

Along with Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, Time Out is still the jazz album most likely to be in a non-jazz fan's CD collection, leading some jazz fans to see Brubeck's music as too commercial. I think that misses the point. I've gone in a circle with it myself: I listened to Time Out before I was into jazz and then having got into it returned to it with an extra appreciation.

Brubeck's record of standing up to racism in the 1950's when many clubs refused to book an integrated band should also not be forgotten.

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