Thursday, December 6, 2012
Thank You Mr. Brubeck
One of the reasons I believe in jazz is that the oneness of man can come through the rhythm of your heart. It's the same anyplace in the world, that heartbeat. It's the first thing you hear when you're born--or before you're born--and it's the last thing you hear.
Dave Brubeck (1920-2012)
I had the great good fortune to be introduced to Dave Brubeck's music as a child, just one of the many artists my Dad played on the victrola after work in the evenings, while he relaxed with the New York Times and a scotch on the rocks.
My Dad's tastes in jazz ran the gamut: New Orleans jazz on the "Licorice Stick", Bosa Nova and Samba, cool, intellectual 50s and 60s jazz, Cole Porter. I remember a period in time when you often had to just sit and listen to music with Dad if you were going to spend any time with him at all.
My brothers and I weren't allowed to get rowdy or laugh, or even smirk, and if we obeyed the mysterious and sometimes capricious rules of music enjoyment, we were allowed to stay. When Dad would get up to do a Jackie Gleason happy-dance to Dave Brubeck's Take Five, we knew all was right in the world.
Because Mr. Brubeck was a neighbor, we had the opportunity to hear him with his quartet several times. Mr. Brubeck sometimes had his sons up on stage, gifted musicians all, and I remember thinking how damn lucky they were.
I remember one summer night when I was about 16--a couple of friends and I caught Brubeck's Quartet, with Paul Desmond on sax, at the Westport Playhouse--sublime, moving, synchronizing my heart beat to the heart of his music, I was not the same after that evening.
Afterwards, moody and silent, my friends and I drove down to the beach just to look at the water. So soon to leave our homes, to fly the nest, I had the impression we were all thinking the same thing that night: where am I headed and how will I go? Who will I become, and who might come with me?
Dave Brubeck, you always came with me.