This Day in Death

12.5.12: Dave Brubeck – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:15 pm December 7, 2012

Oh, you like jazz? Yeah, I used to listen to a lot of jazz, but I kinda grew out of it. Now I mostly listen to dissonant South African flute music. You’ll probably get into it in another couple years.

Look, unless we’re talking about Will Smith’s sidekick from Fresh Prince, I’m not gonna sit here and pretend that I know how to discuss jazz. It’s all boppy piano with nary a chainsaw guitar solo to be heard and time signatures that need to be decoded like we’re in a damn National Treasure movie. Whatever happened to a couple of good, sturdy 4s? All of these 7s and 9s confuse and anger people. If I wasn’t legally prohibited from running for public office musical reform would be a major plank in my platform. Anyway, Dave Brubeck is dead. Please read this block quote while I put on Birth of the Cool for just long enough to justify tweeting to all of my white friends that I did so.

Mr. Brubeck experimented with time signatures and polytonality and explored musical theater and the oratorio, baroque compositional devices and foreign modes. He did not always please the critics, who often described his music as schematic, bombastic and — a word he particularly disliked — stolid. But his very stubbornness and strangeness — the blockiness of his playing, the oppositional push-and-pull between his piano and Paul Desmond’s alto saxophone — make the Brubeck quartet’s best work still sound original.

Brubeck also was forced to take firm stands for racial tolerance in the 50s, when college deans tried to force him not to perform with Gene Wright, a black man, on bass. That sounds pretty bold, but it’s arguably just as racist of Brubeck to assume that you can’t perform jazz without a black bassist. See, America? Now you don’t know *what* to believe.

Source: The New York Times

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