The jazzmen of the 50s and 60s are nearly all gone now, just like the great bluesmen. Make no mistake Dave Brubeck was a true giant. And now he’s left the building, just the day before his 92nd birthday.
He was one of the only jazz musicians to be featured on the cover of Time magazine and that was before the seminal Time Out album. Of course, he thought that a black jazz player should have been on the cover, like Duke Ellington. But he also was the first to hit the college campuses, a practice that he continued all his career. Of course, he was the first to bring odd time signatures to jazz, and by extension, to all popular music. So much of the music we take for granted today would not have been anywhere near as adventurous without the chances he took.
So turn out the lights and play the above video. Brubeck’s critics claim he hammered the keys too hard and this song belies that claim all too well. He was a fine player, an innovator, a great composer and band leader, and above all, one of the kindest self-effacing musicians of his stature on the planet. We will not see his like again.