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Dave Brubeck Quartet - Jazz Gehört Und Gesehen In Germany

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Dave BrubeckIn the early 1960's Dave Brubeck was the program director of WJZZ-FM radio. He achieved his vision of an all jazz format radio station along with his friend and neighbor John E. Metts, one of the first African Americans in senior radio management. From 1956 - 1965 Mr. Metts was the Vice President of an existing news station in Bridgeport, CT, call letters:WICC “Wicc600”. In 1964 WJZZ switched to broadcasting the “Top 100” - most likely due to the British Invasion of Rock and Roll.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet broke up in 1967 except for a 25th anniversary reunion in 1976; Brubeck continued playing with Desmond and then began recording with Gerry Mulligan. Desmond died in 1977 and left everything, including residuals and the immense royalties for “Take Five”, to the American Red Cross. Mulligan and Brubeck recorded together for six years and then Brubeck formed another group with Perry Robinson on clarinet (or Jerry Bergonzi on saxophone), and three of his sons, Dan, Darius, and Chris, on drums, bass, and keyboards. Brubeck continues to write new works, including orchestrations and ballet scores, and tours about 80 cities each year, upto recently about 20 of them in Europe in autumn. From his 85th birthday his European appearances will be limited. His area of focus is the US, where he still premieres new works, like the Cannery Row Suite, and a project with a bigband.

His quartet now includes alto saxophonist and flautist Bobby Militello, bassist Michael Moore (who replaced Alec Dankworth), and his long-time drummer Randy Jones and has recently worked extensively with the London Symphony Orchestra.

According to Robert Rice of the New Yorker, the combo led by jazz pianist Dave Brubeck during the 1950s and 1960s was "the world’s best-paid, most widely travelled, most highly publicized, and most popular small group." While Brubeck may be considered the world’s most widely acclaimed musician of his period, he is also quite possibly its most criticized, having been described as everything from mystical to methodical. Stanley H. White wrote in Jazz Journal in 1958 that Brubeck’s "ability to improvise fluently on almost any given theme, and his ability to swing with both drive and imagination make him a jazz musician of singular merit"; two years later Joe Goldberg declared in Jazz Review "that jazz is not [Brubeck’s] natural form of expression, but he is determined to play jazz, as if a man who knew five hundred words of French were to attempt a novel in that language."

Perhaps Rice’s statement on the importance of Brubeck’s music, that "it is impossible to make a comment—pro, con, or merely factual—that would not be disputed by a majority of the people who habitually play, listen to, or write about jazz," sums up the critical commentary that surrounds Brubeck’s body of work. What can be asserted is that Brubeck, beyond the praise and faultfinding, beyond even the unexamined end result of his music, has always been an intelligent musician thoughtful of the process, an artist constantly seeking a new and justifiable means of creative expression.

"Perhaps the most significant contribution made by the Brubeck Quartet has been the integration of jazz and classical elements," Al Zeiger noted in Metronome. But Brubeck’s precarious marriage of these two divergent styles has frequently offended stylists and aficionados of the pure jazz form. "He cannot always maintain the balance between jazz and classical music without forsaking an element vital to either one form," White appraised in Jazz Journal. More often than not, Brubeck’s improvisations slip from jazz into classical colors, bringing up "a little canon a la Bach or some dissonant counterpoint a la Bartok or even a thrashing crisis a la Beethoven," a reporter for Time pointed out.

Dave Brubeck Quartet - Jazz Gehört Und Gesehen In Germany
Take the "A" Train (Strayhorn) 0:15
Forty Days (Brubeck) 9:47
I'm in a Dancing Mood (Goodhart, Hoffman & Sigler) 16:13
Koto Song (Brubeck) 19:14
Take Five (Desmond) 27:18

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