Brubeck and brunch: jazz giant plays Vineyard
Dave Brubeck is feeling good again. "Things I couldn't do last week, I'm doing today," the jazz legend said by phone during a break from several hours of practice at his Connecticut home. Earlier this year, an illness kept him away from the piano. But the 88-year-old musician is regaining vigor that defines nearly six decades at the pinnacle of the jazz world. His ambitious performance schedule is back on track, and he has already made up the appearances he missed. If Dave Brubeck is feeling good, while preparing for an appearance here on Martha's Vineyard this Sunday, August 2, his many fans here should be ecstatic.
"It takes a lot of strength," Mr. Brubeck said, "especially the way I play. I play with a lot of force. When that isn't there it's very disappointing to me. Today I feel like it's coming back."
Mr. Brubeck, along with the most
recent incarnation of his quartet, is scheduled to perform in Edgartown at a fundraiser brunch and auction for the YMCA of Martha's Vineyard. The critically acclaimed quartet includes Mr. Brubeck on piano, Bobby Militello, playing saxophone and flute, Randy Jones on drums, Michael Moore on bass.
It is not the first time he's played to a Vineyard audience. Mr. Brubeck played at The Hot Tin Roof in the 1990s. "Carly Simon was there," Mr. Brubeck said. "That was a big event."
More than one jazz historian credits Dave Brubeck with a large part in keeping jazz music alive. Mr. Brubeck's chart topping hits introduced millions of people around the world to jazz.
Few people, in any profession or creative endeavor, have sustained the stature Mr. Brubeck has enjoyed in his six decades of performing and recording. Winner of the National Medal of the Arts, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and the Smithsonian Medal, along with many others, he was on the cover of Time Magazine in 1954, the face of a resurgence in jazz music.
In 1959, he released a genre-altering album called "Time Out," including a tune called "Take Five," played on radio stations throughout the world. "Time Out" was a revolutionary musical experiment, turning the standard 4/4 time signature on its ear with recordings in 5/4 and 9/8 time, very difficult to play, and impossible to dance to. Several record company executives advised against releasing it. But it became the first jazz album to sell a million copies, and remains one of the best selling jazz recordings in history.