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Interview With Dave Brubeck


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Interview with Dave Brubeck






Pianist-composer Dave Brubeck is one of a very few jazz musicians to be recognized more for his compositional skill than his playing ability. A product of the '50s when the lightning fast fingers of Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson and Bud Powell ruled the keyboard, Brubeck followed a different path. Instead of playing long linear melodic lines, he used rhythmic interplay and polytonality as his tools. Brubeck studied modern compositional harmony and explored the music of various world regions. Incorporating these influences, his career blossomed throughout the '50s and '60s with huge hits including Take Five and In Your Own Sweet Way. Over the years, he has led numerous influential units including those featuring his sons. They join him again on his latest Telarc recording, In Their On Sweet Way.






Bill King: In Their Own Sweet Way must have been one of the greatest Christmas gifts a father could hope for.


Dave Brubeck: It sure was. All of the kids were home for the holidays when a snowstorm warning was issued. Telarc was planning to record a piano concerto with a symphony at a college in Westchester, but the bad weather forced the event to be canceled. With all of their gear intact, Telarc called and asked if I wanted to record something because I live in nearby Connecticut. As I mentioned it just so happened that the entire Brubeck clan was home for Christmas at the time, so the rest of it just fell into place.


B.K.: Was it a communal decision with record to selecting the material?


D.B.: Everybody contributed their own ideas. By the end of that process, we had more than enough material. The CD ended up being 70 minutes long, but we had enough for two complete recordings.


B.K.: You have managed to develop a great relationship with Telarc after so many fruitful years with Columbia.


D.B.: Yes, that's true. I'm still one of Columbia's top-selling artist, especially in Europe. I sell more there than any other Columbia artist. Miles still outsells me in the U.S., but not by much.


B.K.: On In Their Own Sweet Way, you appear in a duo piano setting with your son Darius. Two pianists can pose both musical and technical problems. Were you able to address potential conflicts before the sessions?


D.B.: No, we just played. There was no rehearsal. We just sat down and let things happen.


B.K.: What do you think of the evolution of your four sons playing?


D.B.: I think each in their own way are saying and doing so much. Over the years, I've had the greatest drummers in the world in my bands. Danny learned from all of them when he was a kid. By the time he was eight or nine years old, he was listening to Joe Morello. Then he studied with Alan Dawson. Those influences come through in his playing. Now, I truly think he is one of the most exciting drummers I have ever worked with.




by Bill King

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