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Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Dave Brubeck

I had something different in mind for today’s post, but something happened that is just too important not to write about. An American piano legend, Dave Brubeck, passed away today. He would turn 92 tomorrow. He was known for his unusual time signatures and poly-rhythms. During his 60 year career, he toured with names like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. He was featured on Time magazine’s cover - at the time, the second jazz musician ever to be featured on its cover, with only Louis Armstrong preceding him.
Most people will know him through songs like Take Five or Blue Rondo A La Turk. Maybe you don’t even know you know him, but most likely you’ve heard these songs before.
I think he’s very easy to listen to, but he also has so much to offer. I recommend him to anyone, to long time jazz lovers as well as to people who are just getting into jazz. He wasn’t being praised so much for nothing...

His renown, in part, comes from his great album Time Out, which is something you have to hear at least once in your life, but the reason I love Dave Brubeck is The Real Ambassadors, a project with his wife Iola, created specifically with Louis Armstrong in mind. Regarding the project much can be found in Ricky Riccardi’s blog and book What a Wonderful World. I won’t go into detail about it (I will come back about this as this is material for a post on its own) but I will say it’s a masterpiece ahead of its time and it’s one of my favourite Louis Armstrong’s albums.
Here’s a song out of the album. Iola wrote the lyrics and she meant them to be light and humorous, especially the part

They say I look like God.
Could God be black? My God!
If all are made in the image of thee,
Could thou perchance a zebra be?

was meant as a joke, but Louis sang them with such seriousness it brings the song to a whole new level.
Anyway, I’ll talk about the album some other time, I had to at least mention it. If you want to listen to some great music and hear Louis Armstrong do something atypical for him, give this album a listen. It’s well worth it!

A musical legend left us today and left a great legacy. Do the right thing and go enjoy some of it.

Come back for more reading as I’ll do a Christmas special later this week!

EDIT 7. December 2012: Here's a great article on The Real Ambassadors by Ricky Riccardi. Check it out!

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