Your friend and mine, Jonathan Maberry, mentioned that it’s been a rough week for the good guys. And we have now lost one of the best.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, my first memory is of music: Bob Dylan’s “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again.” The musical artist that I heard next was either Miles Davis or Dave Brubeck. So when he came to my hometown for a concert and I got to meet Dave Brubeck and shake his hand, I was gobsmacked. Apart from my immediate family, Brubeck was one of the people I had known for as long as I could remember. I have never been without a copy of the album Time Out. When one mysteriously dematerializes from my possession, I replace it. It’s Just How Things Operate.
So just one day short of today, his 92nd birthday, he left us. And while he left us a tremendous legacy of excellent jazz and an example of what it means to never stop (because he never did), he also left us a hole in the jazz world that will never be filled. Rob is always talking about how the old grandmasters of various genres are leaving us? Well, Dave was one to be certain. They simply do not make them like him anymore.
Rest well, Dave. And well done, sir. You were amazing.
Still one of my favorite bits of live footage, here’s their appearance playing on Jam Session in 1958. At least watch till about four and a half minutes in. It’s gold.
From 1962, a television show called The Lively Ones, we have the Quartet performing “Blue Rondo a la Turk” while flying on a magic carpet. No, really. [Update: They’ve made it viewable on YouTube only.]
From 1964 and a performance in Belgium, an excellent quality performance of “Take Five,” the Quartet’s signature tune. [Update: And this one too.]
From 1961, here’s their appearance on a show called Jazz Casual (we reviewed the DVD release here), and Brubeck gets some interview time. Plus two live performances, “Turk” and “Five.” Here’s the entire episode. But hey, the DVD’s out of print. So. [Update: Aaaaaand that one too. YouTube used to be a lot more fun.]
I wish like hell it was online: Turner Classic Movies has the Clint Eastwood-executive produced docu, In His Own Sweet Way, which is bloody brilliant. If you have any chance at all to catch it, do so.