Dave Brubeck Quartet On JazzSet Brubeck swung the door open to a new world of free-flowing, where-is-this-going music. JazzSet remembers him with a set from the 2009 Newport Jazz Festival.

Dave Brubeck at Newport. Wiqan Ang for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Wiqan Ang for NPR

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater

Dave Brubeck Quartet On JazzSetWBGO

Dave Brubeck Quartet On JazzSet

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/167654793/167624540" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

At the opening of his 2009 Newport Jazz Festival appearance, Dave Brubeck said, "A few concerts ago, we were in Washington, D.C., and [it] was Duke Ellington Month. So every church, joint and street corner were doing Duke Ellington, and I said to myself, 'He was my mentor, he helped me get started. Why don't I do some Ellington?' [And I said to the guys], 'Follow me, and I'll think of tunes as we go along.'"

The Dave Brubeck Quartet got rolling with that "follow me" and an Ellington medley including "Don't Get Around Much Anymore."

Three months later, on Brubeck's 89th birthday, the Kennedy Center honored him along with Mel Brooks, Grace Bumbry, Robert DeNiro and Bruce Springsteen for lifetime achievement in the performing arts. The citation reads: "Dave Brubeck's genius has dazzled us for six decades, and has helped to define an American art form." Brubeck responded that it was significant to him that the honor recognized the importance of jazz. At the Kennedy Center Honors concert, Brubeck and his wife Iola looked down from box seats as their sons played his music. Their daughter Catherine is instrumental in Jazz'd 4 Life, an organization that helps young people worldwide.

Dave Brubeck was born Dec. 6, 1920, in Concord, Calif. He died Dec. 5 in his adopted home state of Connecticut. In his six-decade career, Brubeck performed and recorded with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic; composed music for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Pope John Paul II; and played for Presidents from Johnson to Reagan to Obama. Years before, when Obama was only 10 years old, he attended his first Dave Brubeck concert.

When I was in high school, I saw my first Dave Brubeck performance. It was in Milwaukee, Wis. After almost a decade of piano lessons, I couldn't play even the simplest song by ear. Brubeck swung the door open to a new world of free-flowing, where-is-this-going music. Countless people everywhere followed their first Dave Brubeck concert or recording with a lifelong interest in jazz.

It is our joy to reach into the Dave Brubeck archive for this set from Newport, where he was very much at home. Long live his music.

Personnel

  • Dave Brubeck, piano
  • Bobby Militello, flute and sax
  • Michael Moore, bass
  • Randy Jones, drums

Set List

  • "C Jam Blues"/"Don't Get Around Much Anymore"/"Mood Indigo"/"Take the 'A' Train" (Ellington/Strayhorn medley)
  • "Stormy Weather" (Arlen/Koehler)
  • "On the Sunny Side of the Street" (Fields/McHugh)
  • "Take Five" (Desmond)
  • "Thank You (Dziekuje)" (Brubeck)

Credits

Recording by Steve Remote, Aura Sonic Ltd.; remix in surround sound by Duke Markos.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Ingrid Hertfelder/Courtesy of the artist

Michel Camilo On Piano Jazz

Hear Grammy-winning pianist, composer and bandleader Michel Camilo demonstrate his whirlwind approach to music, technical brilliance and post-bop Latin rhythms.

Michel Camilo On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/647914078/647930411" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Soprano Eileen Farrell Erich Auerbach/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Erich Auerbach/Getty Images

Eileen Farrell On Piano Jazz

On this episode of Piano Jazz from 1993, she shares her tremendous vocal range on "How High the Moon" and "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning."

Eileen Farrell On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/645639983/645646714" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Peter Symes/Redferns

Gene Harris On Piano Jazz

On this 1988 Piano Jazz episode, Harris opens with a slow and easy "Black and Blue," then McPartland joins him on "Bag's Groove."

Gene Harris On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/643301657/643308374" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Stefon Harris Elizabeth Leitzell/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Elizabeth Leitzell/Courtesy of the artist

Stefon Harris On Piano Jazz

Vibraphonist Stefon Harris is one of the most innovative and impressive artists in jazz, blazing new trails on vibraphone and marimba.

Stefon Harris On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/639381859/639391660" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Jess Stacy is featured on this week's episode of Piano Jazz William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress hide caption

toggle caption William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress

Jess Stacy On Piano Jazz

As one of the leading pianists of the swing era, Stacy was best known for his work with the Benny Goodman Orchestra and had a prolific career before stepping back from the music world in the 1950's.

Jess Stacy On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/637110919/637149734" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

Tony Bennett On Piano Jazz

The iconic vocalist makes an appearance on 'Piano Jazz' and shares his inspirations.

Tony Bennett On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/632750594/632767944" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top