Brubeck Brothers @ Ellington's Jazz Bar, Sanibel Island
Florida's Sanibel Island is a little bit of paradise with sandy beaches at the end of a long causeway stretching out from the Gulf Coast. There are two ways to hear music on Sanibel: lift a seashell to your ear, or step inside Ellington's Jazz Bar and Restaurant.
On New Year's Eve, Ellington's hosted a portion of the NPR special Toast of the Nation -- live music to ring in 2006. Patriarch Dave Brubeck and his high school sweetheart, Iola, were in the audience, at a table full of little Brubecks. Dave and Iola's two sons -- Chris on fretless bass and trombone, and Dan on drums -- led the band. Mike Demicco was on guitar with Will Boulware on piano.
Chris Brubeck was also the MC, telling a story about how he and his brother helped their father discover the waltz from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs -- "Someday My Prince Will Come." (A piece that appears in the set.)
"When Dan and I were little children, my poor father would be coming back from the Blackhawk and some of these clubs in San Francisco," Chris Brubeck recalled. "At three o'clock in the morning, he's trying to get some sleep. At six in the morning, we get up and play these little yellow or red plastic records... These were actually very cool tunes. So he did a record, Dave Digs Disney. It's one of his original best-sellers. Oddly enough, Miles Davis came and heard, and this innocent little square children's song became hip!"
Among the other highlights from the set: Chris Brubeck wrote "Easy for You to Pray" about how much so many of us have, while others have so little. Ellington's Jazz Bar supports the Jazz Foundation of America, helping musicians in need.
"Grande Parade du Jazz" is, in Chris Brubeck's words, "a second-line street-funky drumming thing, in 7/4 time." The brothers' version of Dad's classic "Take Five" is "a funky version that took shape years ago onstage at the Montreal Jazz Festival where Chris and Dan played with Dave and Gerry Mulligan."
Songs from the Brubecks' current CD -- Intuition from Koch International -- are also featured.
"Grande Parade du Jazz" (Chris Brubeck)
"Cassandra" (Dave Brubeck)
"Someday My Prince Will Come" (Rodgers & Hammerstein)
"Easy for You to Pray" (Chris Brubeck)
"Take Five" (Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond)
Ellington's Jazz and Bar
Jazz Foundation of America
Thanks to proprietors Sharon Wise and Jillian Algrin.
Our field producer is Shari Hutchinson of Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, with stage manager David Lyons of South Carolina Educational Radio.
Our recording engineer is Brian Jarboe of NPR, with thanks to Hap Hapli of WGCU at Florida Gulf Coast University.
The JazzSet technical director is Duke Markos, with producer Becca Pulliam and executive producer Thurston Briscoe III @ Jazz 88, WBGO in Newark, N.J.
Thanks to Benjamin K. Roe and Anya Grundmann at NPR.
Copyright 2007 NPR