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Jazz Street: Dave Brubeck

posted January 14, 2016, 8:29 am by Nathaniel Lathy | Filed Under Jazz Street, Throwback Thursday | comment Leave a Comment

Dave BrubeckAnd the consensus was the best version belonged to Dave Brubeck. His is the  only version of the song I’ve heard. There’s been plenty of writing about Brubeck and his work with time signatures. The main interest level for me in Brubeck’s recordings is they just sound so good.He put out a classic album with Jazz Goes To College. I became a fan, listening to cuts from this album. My interest level increased, downloading Dave Brubeck’s Greatest Hits ( a great 43:00 of music.)

It seemed in the 1990s the album was a popular selection for figure skaters (with wildly differing levels of success). One listener conjectured Brubeck provided influence for the music used in Charlie Brown specials. The music might be too smooth for some tastes. But it works well and not just as an example of elegance. He could speed up the music when needed. I haven’t  listened to anything he’s recorded since the mid 1960s. Maybe it’s just as well, reading the writings of Robert Christgau.

I really only need to concern myself with the music, he made in his best period. I differ with those who say the music is too mellow or languishes in the netherworld of smooth jazz background music. The melodies are just too good for this music to cause a loss of interest. And the piano flourishes are amazing. The great Thelonious Monk doesn’t sound as precise as Brubeck.Jazz going in a different direction since the best days of Brubeck is a more  a reflection on the genre than a dismissal  of his best work. And if “Unsquare Dance”  can’t save  a mediocre movie such as  Silver Linings Playbook, one shouldn’t blame the band leader.



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