- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
- ‘Duck Dynasty’ Phil Robertson suspended ‘indefinitely’ for gay quip
- John Podesta eats crow: ‘I apologize to Speaker Boehner’
- U.S., China race to finish line on ‘invisibility cloak’
- Obama ‘cavalier’ in hiding foreign aid order, judge rules
Jazz composer, pianist Dave Brubeck dies
Question of the Day
You don’t have to be a jazz aficionado to recognize “Take Five,” the smoky instrumental by the Dave Brubeck Quartet that instantly evokes swinging bachelor pads, hi-fi systems and cool nightclubs of the 1950s and ‘60s.
“Take Five” was a musical milestone — a deceptively complex jazz composition that managed to crack the Billboard singles chart and introduce a new, adventurous sound to millions of listeners.
In a career that spanned almost all of American jazz since World War II, Brubeck’s celebrated quartet combined exotic, challenging tempos with classical influences to create lasting standards such as “Take Five” and “Blue Rondo a la Turk.”
Brubeck, the pianist and composer behind the quartet, died Wednesday of heart failure a day shy of his 92nd birthday. He believed that jazz presented the best face of America to the world.
“Jazz is about freedom within discipline,” Brubeck said in a 2005 interview with AP. “Usually a dictatorship like in Russia and Germany will prevent jazz from being played because it just seemed to represent freedom, democracy and the United States.
“Many people don’t understand how disciplined you have to be to play jazz. … And that is really the idea of democracy — freedom within the Constitution or discipline. You don’t just get out there and do anything you want.”
The common thread that ran through Brubeck’s work was breaking down the barriers between musical genres — particularly jazz and classical music. He was inspired by his mother, Elizabeth Ivey Brubeck, a classical pianist, and later by his composition teacher, the French composer Darius Mihaud, who encouraged his interest in jazz and advised him to “keep your ears open” as he traveled the world.
“When you hear Bach or Mozart, you hear perfection,” Brubeck said in 2005. “Remember that Bach, Mozart and Beethoven were great improvisers. I can hear that in their music.”
Brubeck was always fascinated by the rhythms of everyday life. In a discussion with biographer Doug Ramsey, he recalled the rhythms he heard while working as a boy on cattle drives at the northern California ranch managed by his father.
The first time he heard polyrhythms — the use of two rhythms at the same time — was on horseback.
“The gait was usually a fast walk, maybe a trot,” he said. “And I would sing against that constant gait of the horse. … There was nothing to do but think, and I’d improvise melodies and rhythms.”
Brubeck combined classical influences and his own innovations on the seminal album “Time Out,” released by his classic quartet with alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, drummer Joe Morello and bassist Eugene Wright in 1959.
It was the first jazz album to deliberately explore time signatures outside of the standard 4/4 beat or 3/4 waltz time. It was also the first million-selling jazz LP and is still among the best-selling jazz albums of all time.
“They said, ‘We never put out music that people can’t dance to, and they can’t dance to these rhythms that you’re playing,’” Brubeck recalled in 2010. He also wanted a painting by Joan Miro on the cover, something else the record company had never done.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Half of America strips religion from Christmas
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay comments
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- NAPOLITANO: NSA spies pick up interference from the Constitution
- 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson: Gays 'wont inherit the kingdom of God'
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Does it take over 25 years in public service to really know what goes on in Washington?
A politically conservative and morally liberal Hebrew alpha male hunts left-wing viper
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow