Five things I did not know about Dave Brubeck.
- He studied for two years to be a vet, before his zoology professor told him: “”Brubeck, your mind’s not here. It’s across the lawn in the conservatory. Please go there. Stop wasting my time and yours.”
- During the Second World War, while Brubeck was serving in the US Army, he helped organise the first racially integrated army band.
- His most famous number, “Take Five”, is the best-selling jazz single of all time.
- The album from which it came, Time Out, was the first jazz album to sell one million copies. That album is notable for unusual time signatures. “Take Five” is in 5/4, while the track featured below, “Blue Rondo a la Turk” is in 9/8.
- In 1951, Brubeck was badly injured while swimming in the surf in Hawaii. For a time it was feared he might never play music again. (Perhaps Brian Wilson’s aquaphobia was mere prudence?)
One thing I did already know, because it is folklore among Australian journalists. When Brubeck arrived here for a tour in 1960, he was asked possibly the dumbest question ever raised at a press conference: “Mr Brubeck, how many musicians are there in your quartet?”
Dave Brubeck was one of those rare musicians who was both seriously experimental, pushing the boundaries of his art, and hugely popular. Tune in to “Blue Rondo a la Turk”, which was inspired by the rhythms of Turkish folk music, and you will understand why.
- Artist: The Dave Brubeck Quartet
- LP Title: Time Out
- Track: Side 1, Track 1 “Blue Rondo A La Turk”
- Format: 12”, 33⅓ rpm
- Label: Columbia
- Manufactured in: Japan
- Catalogue number: YS-214
- Year: 1964 (original release 1959)
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