Dave Brubeck

The jazz pianist Dave Brubeck died on Wednesday, December 05, 2012 at age 91. In a characteristic bit of rhythmic eccentricity, he died a day before the downbeat of his 92nd birthday.

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  1. Brubeck's main contribution to the evolution of jazz was the introduction of new rhythms and tonalities.
  2. Mr. Brubeck experimented with time signatures and polytonality and explored musical theater and the oratorio, baroque compositional devices and foreign modes. He did not always please the critics, who often described his music as schematic, bombastic and — a word he particularly disliked — stolid. But his very stubbornness and strangeness — the blockiness of his playing, the oppositional push-and-pull between his piano and Paul Desmond’s alto saxophone — make the Brubeck quartet’s best work still sound original. Outside o
  3. Here's a more detailed explanation of Brubeck's technique.
  4. Dave Brubeck was among the very first jazz musicians to introduce and popularize the musical concept of polytonality. Simply put, it is playing in two keys simultaneously. Many times Dave has stated a melody in the original key, then, for example, re-harmonized it by putting the left hand in the original key (often the root and a note a 10th higher than the root in the left hand) and then playing chords with his right hand in a key a sixth higher than the root of the left hand.
  5. Dave Brubeck - Take Five - 1966
  6. Brubeck was one of the best selling jazz musicians of the post-World War II era. He as the first modern jazz musician to be pictured on the cover of Time magazine in 1954, and throughout the 950s and 60s he performed on college campuses. He came to symbolize a certain kind of mid-century cool.
  7. To the man taking that big break in the sky!
    To the man taking that big break in the sky!
  8. Brubeck's sudden popularity after the release of Take Five in 959 caused a backlash in jazz circles. He was accused of selling out, a charge he defended himself against vigorously. 
  9. “One of the most internationally known disc jockeys accused me, right on the air, of going commercial. "So I said to him, on the air: ‘OK, let’s play the (‘Take Five’) record, and you follow along and count it,’” said Brubeck, referring to its underlying rhythmic pattern, which defied the two-, three- and four-beats-to-the-bar techniques of the day. "And there was this huge blank – he didn’t say anything. "So I said, ‘Well, why don’t you do it?’ "And he just didn’t answer.
  10. Even my Facebook friends are pretty busted up about his death.
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