Archive for jazz videos

JAZZ LIVES!!! with CurtJazz: Interactive Playlist 4/27/17

Posted in Charlotte Community Rado, CLTC Playlists, Jazz in Charlotte, JazzLives!, Under The Radar with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2017 by curtjazz

CurtJazz Studio 225Our show on Thursday, April 27 was our first since learning of the station’s impending demise. No guests that evening; I just spent a lot of the show playing Carolinas based artists and those who had been guests on the show over the last year. A bit sentimental but still some great jazz.

A link to a recording of the entire program is below, as are a couple of terrific video clips from a couple of the tracks on the playlist. Enjoy!

 

TRACK TITLE ARTIST(S) ALBUM LABEL
I’m Old Fashioned Elli Fordyce Songs Spun of Gold Self-Release
Moanin’ Tony Allen A Tribute to Art Blakey Blue Note
It’s Only A Paper Moon Denise Jannah A Heart Full of Music Timeless
Here to Help Chris Greene Quartet Boundary Issues Single Malt
Lucid Lullaby Linda May Han Oh Walk Against Wind Biophilia
Little Pigs Amos Hoffman Back to The City Self-Release
Phryzzinian Man Wynton Marsalis Black Codes from the Underground Columbia
The Coaster Kevin Mahogany Songs and Moments Enja
Epitaph III – J. Mac Chad Eby Broken Shadows Cellar Live
Absolute-Lee Brandon Lee Absolute Lee CD Baby
Johnny Come Lately Don Braden / Mark Rapp The Strayhorn Project Premium Music
Crazy Baby Nicci Canada Twenty Twelve Self-Release
Screwball Mike Hackett New Point of View Summit
Think Tank Will Campbell Think Tank Origin
Chicken Day Harvey Cummings Chicken Day Self-Release
West End Blues John Michael Bradford Something Old Something New CD Baby
Thelonious Ali Jackson Amalgamations Sunnyside
Black Coffee Tenya Coleman Tenya Self-Release
Clapper Dapper Geoff Clapp Bend in the River CD Baby
Unit 7 Ellis Marsalis Sextet Live at Jazz Fest 2014 Self-Release
Afro Samurai Mark Whitfield Grace Self-Release
It Could Happen to You Eric Nemeyer Blessing in Disguise Self-Release
Speak No Evil Wayne Shorter Speak No Evil Blue Note
On the Red Clay Royal Bopsters Project Royal Bopsters Project Motema
Butterfly Gretchen Parlato In a Dream ObliqSound
Red, Black and Green Roy Ayers Red, Black and Green Polydor
Sweet Georgia Brown Anat Cohen Clarinetwork – Live Anzic
Benny’s Bounce Michael Dease All These Hands Posi-tone
Lady Bird Adia Ledbetter Take 2: Rendezvous with Yesterdays CD Baby
Boio Moio Brent Rusinow Old Guy Time CD Baby
Gypsy Ahmad Jamal Blue Moon Jazz Village

 

“Goodbye” – Jazz Musicians We Lost in 2015 (Part 2 of 2)

Posted in In Memoriam, Video Vault with tags , , , , , , on December 31, 2015 by curtjazz

As the year comes to a close, let’s remember a few more of the jazz  musicians that passed away this year. Instead of my insufficient words, we will let their artistry speak for them:

Mark Murphy (Vocals)

Lew Soloff (Trumpet)

Clark Terry (Trumpet, Vocals)

Allen Toussaint (Piano, Vocals, Composer)

Phil Woods (Saxophone)

We will be playing the music of these great artists throughout January 2016 on Curt’s Cafe Noir. Click HERE to listen.

 

“Goodbye”: Jazz Musicians we lost in 2015 – Part 1 of 2

Posted in In Memoriam, Video Vault with tags , , , , , , , on December 31, 2015 by curtjazz

As the year comes to a close, let’s remember a few of the jazz (and influential blues) musicians that passed away. Instead of my insufficient words, we will let their artistry speak for them:

Bob Belden (Saxophone, Composer, Arranger, Producer)

Marcus Belgrave (Trumpet)

Ornette Coleman (Saxophone)

Wilton Felder  (Saxophone, Bass)

B.B. King (Guitar, Vocals)

We will be playing the music of these great artists throughout January 2016 on Curt’s Cafe Noir. Click HERE to listen.

Horace Silver – A Video Memorial

Posted in In Memoriam, Video Vault with tags , , , on June 20, 2014 by curtjazz

Horace Silver (1928 – 2014)

horace silverThough Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva (which he later changed to “Silver”) penned and performed some of the most enduring compositions in jazz history, I don’t think that during his lifetime, he received the respect that he deserved.  Perhaps it was because many of his compositions, while they used interesting time signatures and complex rhythms, were also often infused with a good dose of soul and R & B influence; something which immediately makes many so-called “serious jazz scholars” turn up their collective noses. But Horace Silver did something that many of the more lionized critical darlings could never do; he made uncompromising jazz that also was able to speak to the masses.

From his days alongside Art Blakey in the original Jazz Messengers right into the early part of this century, Mr. Silver continued to create music that could reach the head, the heart and in many instances, even the feet. He recorded for Blue Note Records from 1952 until the label went into a temporary hiatus in 1979, longer than any other artist in the label’s history.

And what a rich partnership it was; with classic albums such as A Night at Birdland; Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers; Finger Poppin’; Tokyo Blues; Serenade to a Soul Sister and Song for my FatherHis compositions during that time included, “Sister Sadie”; “Peace”; “The Preacher”; “Senor Blues”; “Strollin'”; “Nica’s Dream” and so many more. Like Blakey, Silver also nurtured the careers of many young players in his bands, who then went on to make their own mark on jazz. Over the years, Hank Mobley, Donald Byrd, Blue Mitchell Bennie Maupin and Louis Hayes all spent part of their formative years working in one of Mr. Silver’s groups.

Though slowed by ill-health and dementia over the last five years, Mr. Silver’s art still made him a formidable presence in the jazz world. I will refer you to the excellent New York Times obituary by Peter Keepnews for an in-depth retrospective of the man and his career and to Mr. Silver’s informative, if occasionally inscrutable 2006 autobiography Let’s Get to the Nitty Gritty for additional details. I will leave you with a few performance clips from his prime in the ’60’s and my undying gratitude to a man whose music will always be a part of my life.

Four “Under The Radar” Tenor Saxophonists

Posted in Under The Radar, Unsung Saxophone Masters, Who's New in Jazz with tags , , , , , on June 19, 2013 by curtjazz

elias haslangerAs we said last week, there are a lot of fine, living saxophonists out there who are not getting their due. Last week we dropped a few alto players on you. This week we have four tenors. Again, there are others, these are just four that I’m listening to now. Each paragraph includes a link to the artist’s website, if any, and a link to a place to buy some of their music.

Elias Haslanger

When I’m looking for someplace to hear a great tenor saxophonist, I normally don’t head to Austin, TX. After hearing Elias Haslanger, I may have to add another stop to my itinerary. Elias has been on the scene for about 25 years. A Texas native, he attended the Manhattan School of Music and has played and recorded with Maynard Ferguson, Ellis Marsalis, Bob Dorough and even Bruce Springsteen. After paying his New York dues for many years, Haslanger decided to return home to Austin, where he has set up SRO shop at the famed Continental Club on Monday nights. Haslanger has named Stanley Turrentine as one of his major influences and you can hear traces of Mr. T all over Elias’ big soulful Texas Tenor sound. His latest album Church on Monday is a stone groove in the Turrentine/Shirley Scott mode, with Dr. James Polk, Ray Charles’s longtime musical director, on the B3.

Erica Lindsay

I first became aware of Erica Lindsay via her work with one of my favorite “Under The Radar” pianists, Sumi Tonooka. Born in San Francisco, Ms. Lindsay spent much of her formative years in Europe with her parents who had moved there during the sixties. This exposed her at an early age to the jazz of other American expatriates, such as Dexter Gordon, Benny Bailey and Mal Waldron.  Ms. Lindsay returned to the U.S. to stay in 1980, settling in New York and becoming part of the jazz scene, the performance art scene and writing music for television and dance.  On tenor, her sound is robust and powerful. The Coltrane influence is strong but you can also hear a bit of Gordon in there as well. Ms. Lindsay’s  discography is limited but quite good; the most highly recommended being Dreamer, her 1992 debut and Initiation, her 2008 collaboration with Ms. Tonooka.

Dayna Stephens

Like many fine musicians, you’ll see Dayna Stephens’ name in the credits of many of the better jazz albums of the last few years but his  discography as a leader is small. You can easily why others track this cat down. His tenor sound is a big, warm and clear, out of the Joe Henderson/Wayne Shorter school. Nevertheless, I would not call him a clone of either of these two giants as he has his own sound that is growing more distinctive. Those who he has played with include Gerald Clayton, Gretchen Parlato and Taylor Eigsti, who have all returned the favor on Stephens’ recordings. You can check out any one of his three albums but a great place to start is his most recent one, this year’s That Nepenthetic Place on Sunnyside Records.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that though Dayna Stephens is still active, he has been facing some very serious health problems. He suffers from a congenital kidney ailment, undergoes daily dialysis and is awaiting a transplant. His medical expenses, needless to say are tremendous. If you would like more information on how to help, you can go to HelpDaynaStephens.org.

Brandon Wright

The great James Brown trombonist Fred Wesley said that “Brandon Wright is a young White cat who sounds like an old Black man.” Well, I’ll leave the judgements concerning Melanin count to Fred.  I will say that Brandon Wright can play his butt off. A New Jersey native, Wright, who is now in his early thirties, is a veteran of the Mingus Big Band, Chico O’Farrill’s Big Band and an apprenticeship with Mr. Wesley. His two albums on Posi-tone, Boiling Point and Journeyman are impressive pieces of post-bop, in which Wright acquits himself quite well while surrounded by a veteran group of sidemen. Wright says that one of his earliest inspirations to play the saxophone came from seeing Lisa Simpson of the animated Simpsons, play her sax. Lisa has had a very successful run, let’s hope the same for Mr. Wright.

As always I hope that there’s a new discovery for you in at least one of these artists. If you like their work support them by seeing them live, buying their CDs or legally downloading their music. That’s the only way that we will keep jazz alive.

More “Under The Radar” living jazz artists next week. Until then, “The Jazz Continues…”

Four “Under The Radar” Alto Saxophonists

Posted in Under The Radar, Unsung Saxophone Masters, Video Vault, Who's New in Jazz with tags , , , , , , on June 11, 2013 by curtjazz

tk blue - latin birdYou know what y’all? There are a lot of good saxophonists playing under the radar these days. As I set out to write this piece, I planned to scribble a few names down, pare it down to four and get it done. But a strange thing happened, as I scribbled the list just kept growing and growing. Long story short, there were so many that we’re splitting this first go around into alto and tenor saxophonists. Alto this week and tenor next.

So here in alpha order are four fine alto saxophonists who should get a wider hearing:

T.K. Blue

I first heard T.K. Blue (aka Talib Kibwe or Eugene Rhynie) several years ago when he was playing on a session by a drummer whose name I now forget. As I now recall, Mr. Blue was the only redeeming thing about that session. I’ve kept up with his work from that point on and he has continued to impress me both as a sideman and on his own releases. Like many alto saxophonists, Mr. Blue has been strongly influenced by Charlie Parker but his Caribbean roots add another layer to his sound that makes him unique. I strongly recommend his two most recent projects: Follow The North Star, a fascinating musical retelling of the story of Solomon Northup and his book Twelve Years a Slave and Latin Bird, which as you may have guessed is a Latin and Caribbean tinged romp through the music of Charlie Parker.

Sharel Cassity

This Oklahoma City native got her big break when she sat in at a New Year’s 2008 jam session in NYC. She followed Roy Hargrove and Antonio Hart’s solos on “Be-Bop”. She acquitted herself so well that Hargrove and Jimmy Heath, who was in attendance, both asked Ms. Cassity to join their big bands on the spot. In addition to stints with both of those bands, this graduate of The New School and Julliard has appeared with the Diva Big Band, Nicholas Payton, Christian McBride, Mark Whitfield and many others. Her greatest triumph though has been Relentless, her critically acclaimed 2009 disc. We expect to hear much more from Ms. Cassity in the future.

Tim Green

Like this writer, Tim Green was “raised in the church”; like me, he also was influenced by all kinds of music, secular and Christian.  The Baltimore native, who finished 2nd in the 2008 Monk Saxophone Competition, has played and recorded with a wide range of artists from Kirk Franklin to Kenny Burrell to Donnie McClurkin and Hubert Laws. His work on the alto  has been lauded by musicians of all stripes and Jazz Times has called Green ” a player to watch”. His most recent release Songs From This Season, has been heralded by the critics and will likely end up on a number of this year’s “Best Of” lists. Mr. Green is not likely to be under the radar for long, be the first on your block to ‘discover’ him.

Sherman Irby

A melodic alto player out of the Cannonball Adderley school, Mr. Irby has been around for the better part of 15 years; as a solo artist as well as a sideman for Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Marcus Roberts and others. He released a couple of strong albums for Blue Note in the late ’90’s, Full Circle and Big Mama’s Biscuits but they got lost in the glut of “New Young Lions” releases of that era. Of late, Irby has been a member of Wynton’s Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra and produced some very strong work on his own Black Warrior record label, of which two albums, Black Warrior from 2006 and 2011’s Live at the Otto Club, are standouts.

Be sure to use the links throughout this post to get more info about the artists whose music you enjoy and most importantly, support them by attending their concerts if they come to your area and buying their CDs or legally downloading their music.

Next week we’ll cover some tenor sax players.

Until the next time, the jazz continues…

Jazz Under the Radar – Four Trumpets That You Should Hear

Posted in Video Vault, Who's New in Jazz with tags , , , , , , , on June 5, 2013 by curtjazz

Keyon HarroldIf you’re familiar with my Twitter Feed, you know that on Mondays (#MusicMonday as it’s known in the Twitterverse), I usually at some point during the day will ask followers to check out the music of a living, working musician that they are unfamiliar with.

I do that because as much as I love the jazz classics, I realize that if this music is to have any hope of a future it will come not at the hands of Miles, Monk and Diz but with the musicians who are out there today, working and creating music that is influenced not only by the past masters but by what is happening out there now. So if by dropping that little reminder each Monday, I can get someone to dig and then support ($) someone new, maybe I will have done a little something.

As I’ve done this, I’ve had people reply with the request that I give them a few suggestions of artists to familiarize themselves with. Those who are playing  and recording great music but have managed to miss the general attention of much of the jazz public.

So even though this is a Wednesday, I’m going to start what I hope to make a Monday tradition – “Jazz Under the Radar”; in which I’ll suggest a few artists who might have missed your attention but are definitely worth checking out.

We’ll start with a few trumpet players and we’ll switch the categories up each week. There will be a video clip and a link to the artist’s website, if any, and to an album or two that you can currently purchase. Here are four, in alphabetical order:

Rebecca Coupe Franks

A protegé of the late tenor giant Joe Henderson, Ms. Franks (or “Coupe” as she is often called) has been on the scene for over 20 years, logging credits with Henderson, Kenny Barron and Herb Ellis among others. She first caught my ear on My Appreciation, a 1991 studio jam session that was released under Bill Cosby’s name. She has released a number of albums over the years, including Suit of Armor, her solid 1992 debut as a leader, which featured Henderson and her most recent, Two Oceans a two disc set on which she is backed by Luis Perdomo, Mimi Green and Rodney Green.

Check out the clip below and “Coupe” might just catch your ear, too.

Keyon Harrold

When have been sought by artists from Jay-Z to Fred Hammond to Maxwell to Charles Tolliver, to perform on their projects, you know that you’ve got it going on.  And Mr. Harrold certainly does. He counts Eddie Henderson and Jimmy Owens as teachers and Wynton Marsalis and Tolliver as mentors, so his knowledge of jazz traditions is excellent but since he’s in his early 30’s hip-hop has also had a strong pull. His technique is very strong, with the power of Morgan and the  swagger of Hubbard. Harrold has one album to his credit as of today, 2009’s Introducing Keyon Harrold on Criss Cross. Rest assured, you will hear more from him.

Melvin Jones

The 2011 Atlanta Jazz Festival had just begun. Vocalist Audrey Shakir was about 15 minutes into her set, when her trumpet player stepped forward to deliver a killer solo on the song that they were playing and then another on the next tune. I had never seen this young man before and his name wasn’t immediately announced so I put out an APB into the Twitterworld: “who is the young cat playing trumpet with Audrey Shakir? He is the real deal!” A few minutes later the answer came – Melvin Jones. At about the same time, Ms. Shakir disappeared from the stage for the rest of the set. We later found out that she had wilted under the blazing Memorial Day weekend sun. Mr. Jones and the band picked up the ball and ran with it. Most of the audience barely noticed the singer’s absence.

Melvin Jones returned with his own set for the 2012 AJF. As you will hear in this clip that I recorded then, the previous year was not a fluke. The Atlanta-based Memphis native has one album out. The title is Pivot. It is worth checking out.

By the way, the saxophonist in the clip is Mace Hibbard, another very good musician who’s under the radar.

Jason Parker

This Seattle-based cat is like Ms. Franks,  a 20+ year veteran of the jazz wars. He’s a fine soloist with a buttery middle tone and an easygoing swing. He writes memorable compositions that tend to stick with you after hearing them just once. He’s also a compelling writer, having written extensively about his musical life in his blog “One Working Musician”.  His recorded work reflects the indie spirit of Mr. Parker’s hometown and it’s refreshingly unconventional. I suggest that you start with the most recent two: No More, No Less, which was a Curt’s Cafe Best of 2009 selection and Five Leaves Left a distinctive Nick Drake tribute from 2011.

But don’t take my word for it, just listen to “Bashert”.  Then try to get that subtly beautiful melody out of your head afterwards.

Well, those are four but there are many more. If you’re familiar with all of them, then count yourself fortunate and look for others. If one of these names is new to you, check them out. Support the music of living, working musicians.

Next week, we’ll feature saxophonists.

Until then, the jazz continues…

Mulgrew Miller – A Video Memorial

Posted in In Memoriam, Video Vault with tags , , , on June 1, 2013 by curtjazz

mulgrew millerAs most jazz fans know by now, Mulgrew Miller passed away on May 29 at 57, due to complications from a massive stroke he had suffered a few days before.

Though casual jazz fans may not have known his name, he was considered by many (myself included) to be one of the outstanding pianists of his generation.

Much has been written in the last few days about the man and his art by those far more knowledgeable than I, so I will let their words suffice as many of those who have written knew “Grew” personally.

Instead I would like to pay tribute by posting three of the many fine performances that he delivered over the years and a few sage words of wisdom from the man himself, that he shared with some young musicians. I’ve also listed a few of his best recordings as a leader, for those with some catching up to do.

Rest in Peace, Brother Mulgrew. The musical world that was so enhanced by your presence is diminished incalculably by your departure.

Recommended Recordings

Work (Landmark) – One of his earliest dates as a leader with Charnett Moffett on bass and Terri Lyne Carrington on drums. Out of Print and expensive. Grab it if you see a reasonably priced copy.

Hand in Hand (Novus) – My personal favorite. Eddie and Joe Henderson, Steve Nelson on vibes, Lewis Nash on drums, a young Christian McBride and Mulgrew’s compositions and amazing solos. One of the best jazz albums of the ’90’s. Also Out of Print.

The Sequel (MaxJazz) – This was a 2002 revival of Wingspan, a formidable quintet that Miller had originally formed in 1987. This time around they were a sextet with the addition of Duane Eubanks on trumpet. Though the membership is mostly different, they hadn’t skipped a beat in 15 years, due mostly to Mr. Miller’s strong guiding hand. CD is OOP but it’s currently available on mp3 at a very reasonable price.

Live at Yoshi’s – Volume Two (MaxJazz) – This was the second of two excellent volumes that Miller and his trio recorded at the famed Bay Area jazz club in a 2003 session. The reason that I give this set the nod over number one is simple; Volume Two is still available on mp3 for those who want it.

2013 Jazz Grammy® Preview #2 – Best Jazz Vocal Album

Posted in 2013 Grammys with tags , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2013 by curtjazz

To borrow from Maddux and Glavine in those classic Nike commercials, “people dig the singers”. So the next category that we’ll cover in our 2013 Jazz Grammy Preview always draws a great deal of public interest, whether it’s warranted or not.

Here are the nominees for Best Jazz Vocal Album, along with a few of my opinions:

Soul Shadows – Denise Donatelli (Savant)

This is the second nomination in the past three years in this category for this former CNN reporter turned jazz vocalist.  When Lights Are Low, her previously nominated disc, stuck to the straight ahead side of the street; however Soul Shadows mixes things up a bit, leaning heavily on African, Brazilian and Latin poly-rhythms  The overall result is an album with a lighter, more contemporary sound than its predecessor. Ms. Donatelli is a very fine singer, with an engaging voice and Geoffrey Keezer’s production hits all the right notes. However, because she is still relatively unknown and Grammy voters love familiarity, Soul Shadows is a long shot on February 10.

1619 Broadway (The Brill Building Project) – Kurt Elling (Concord)

Kurt Elling has become a perennial nominee in this category – this is his tenth nomination. He deservedly won in 2010 for his excellent Coltrane/Hartman tribute Dedicated to You. However his last two discs, including this one, though nominated, have been a bit of a disappointment. 1619 Broadway has a marvelous concept and it does have a few bright spots but overall, it misses the mark. It’s another long shot on Grammy night, due mainly to the presence in this category of a couple of Big, Shiny Names that are going to draw a lot of voter attention.

Live – Al Jarreau and the Metropole Orkest (Concord)

Say “hello” to Big, Shiny Name #1. The legendary seven-time Grammy winner (and thirteen-time nominee) looms over this category on awards night like the proverbial 800 lb. Gorilla.  Live is a good album but it’s not a great one.  Like Sinatra in his later years, the 72-year-old Mr. Jarreau is not what he used to be but he can still hit the high points occasionally and he knows how to use what he’s got left to his advantage.  Because of who he is, Al Jarreau stands an excellent chance of taking home his eighth Grammy in February, with his only likely competition coming from the other Big, Shiny Name.

The Book of Chet – Luciana Souza (Sunnyside)

Here you have it folks, the best of the albums nominated in this category but it stands very little chance of winning the Grammy. Ms. Souza, the fine Brazilian jazz singer is one of the least known of the nominees in the U.S. and that is going to hurt her with the voters; which is a shame, because this album, one of two of hers that were nominated this year, is sublime.  This Chet Baker tribute is appropriately spare and consistently moving.  Ms. Souza and her pianoless trio meld ten songs closely associated with the vocal side of the jazz icon, into a seamless, haunting statement. Is it melancholy? Yes, but it is also gorgeous. Under different circumstances, The Book of Chet would be a favorite. But now, it is a likely also-ran.

Radio Music Society – Esperanza Spalding (Heads Up)

And last but not least, we have Big, Shiny Name #2. Radio Music Society is Esperanza’s first album since her upset Best New Artist Grammy win in 2010 (which sent many of us jazz pundit types running through the streets in various stages of bet-losing undress).  Whether this album is “jazz” or not has been argued ad infinitum, so I won’t rehash that here. The bottom line is that it is nominated in this category and Esperanza Spalding is now almost as well-known as Al Jarreau. Therefore she stands about as good of a chance of winning this year’s Best Jazz Vocal Album Grammy as the old scat master.

These tracks and others from Grammy nominated jazz albums can be heard on Curt’s Café Noir, our 24/7 web radio station, right up until February 10. We feature these tracks daily, from 4 pm – 6 pm on “The Grammy Show”. Click here to listen.

In our next Grammy related post, we will discuss the nominees for the other “big” jazz award – Best Jazz Instrumental Album. Until then, The Jazz Continues…

Dave Brubeck – A Video Memorial

Posted in In Memoriam, Video Vault with tags , , on December 5, 2012 by curtjazz

Dave Brubeck (1920 – 2012)

brubeckDave Brubeck passed away today, one day before his 92nd Birthday. 

For a time, Mr Brubeck was one of the most popular jazz musicians in the world. At the same time, he was one of the most critically reviled jazz musicians around. Time heals all wounds and by the time of his death today, love and admiration was pouring in from serious and casual jazz fans alike.

A great deal of his fame stems from “Take Five”, a song first performed in 1959 by his legendary quartet (Paul Desmond, Eugene Wright, Joe Morello and Brubeck). The 45 was the first jazz single to sell a million copies. Though Brubeck was a prolific composer, he did not in fact, write “Take Five”. It was written by Mr. Desmond.

Many critics sniffed back then, at Mr. Brubeck’s music, saying that it was stiff, bombastic and worst of all, unswinging. Though the criticisms rankled at Brubeck, he kept on going, achieving great public popularity, especially  on college campuses, in the late ’50’s and early ’60’s.

I admit that when I was new to jazz, I let the opinions of others keep me from digging Brubeck’s music for a while. However, as I became a big fan of Paul Desmond’s solo work, I made my way back to the source.

I grew to like Brubeck the musician and love Brubeck the composer. His compositions, such as “The Duke”, In Your Own Sweet Way” and “Blue Rondo a la Turk” are stunning in not only for their beauty, but for the complexities that they reveal upon repeated listenings.

Those unfamiliar with Mr. Brubeck’s work should start with the most famous album, Time Out. It’s a virtual greatest hits package and it captures the essence of the famous Brubeck sound.  At Carnegie Hall includes some of the same selections as Time Out, but they are so much better in the live setting.  A personal favorite is The Real Ambassadors, Brubeck’s “protest opera”, which was only performed once, at the 1962 Monterrey Jazz Festival. The music was by Mr. Brubeck and the lyrics by Brubeck and his wife, Iola. The studio album was recorded in 1961 with a “cast” of Louis Armstrong, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross and Carmen McRae and Brubeck. There are several moments of sheer brilliance including Satchmo’s still haunting vocal on “They Say I Look Like God” and his duet with McRae on “You Swing Baby”, which is “The Duke” with added lyrics. And finally an album that I just remembered since I started writing this post; Brubeck and Rushing a meeting of the Brubeck Quartet and the legendary Basie vocalist. It sounds like a train wreck on paper, but I’ll be damned if they don’t all find common ground and pull it off beautifully!

I wrote more than I intended to here. I wanted to let the videos speak for themselves, as I’m sure they will when you watch them. In any case, Rest In Peace to a true jazz giant – Dave Brubeck.