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Dave Brubeck Exits the Stage at 91

He had a great gig. It lasted for 60 years. Dave Brubeck’s body and soul are no longer a part of our plane of existence, yet his body of work remains immortal to our culture.

Dave Brubeck, long a jazz legend, who captured music’s center stage in the late 1950s and early 1960s, died from congestive heart failure today.

Brubeck was best known for the 1959 hit "Take Five." This one song, which was written by Paul Desmond, became a rallying cry for 1950’s coolness. Desmond was part of Brubeck’s quartet. This quartet sound was part of the jazz transition years moving from the dark and smoky coffee houses of the late 1950s over to the more exciting prelude to the unique sounds that would frame the 1960’s music counter culture explosion.

The group was disbanded in 1967. I have to think that fun and pleasure as well as pain of long road tours filled Brubeck’s career during those hectic years. I almost can see him living and playing music in a world of jam sessions, recording contracts, Mad Men advertising agencies, excitement of young boys and girls reaching into the fullness of what history would later name “the 60s” to all converge on the transition of youth into rebellion and a new type of America being born.     

Of all his music, it was that one adaption of ink to paper that was made into sound and labeled “Take Five” that I fell in love with. The single sold over a million recordings.

I believe one of the reasons so many individuals also fell in love with this sound was that it reached inside your soul and made you stop. When your ears first became aware of the almost exotic and erotic musical notes, the body had to stop moving and just allow the music to flow all over you.

For me, the notes from Take Five would be well spent if we, in this futuristic version of what passes for culture, were to just Take Five and  to allow our senses to readjust to all of the sound and fury of modern times. Maybe, this will the best testimony  and legacy for Brubeck, in that his music will make us pull back from the edge  and just take a few minutes to enjoy who we are and the geography of our lives.


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