Goodbye To A Jazz Giant Who Was A Great Friend Of This Greater Niagara Region

A Brief from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper

(As those of you who are regular readers of Niagara At Large know, we go out of our way here sometimes to honour the death of the odd milestone person among us. And here is one now.)

 One of the great jazz adventurers from the mid-20th century and on, in to this 21st century, passed away this December 5.

Jazz legend Dave Brubeck

Jazz legend Dave Brubeck

His name was Dave Brubeck and some of you who follow music closely and love jazz music in particular may remember him for the classic 1959 album ‘Time Out’. On that one was a tune called ‘Take Five’, an interplay between his piano and the alto sax of Paul Desmond, that broke barriers when it came to the typical 4/4 timing in jazz and the blues. It was a sound that everyone in jazz and blues and rock, including The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa, Sting and U2.

 As an avid music listener growing up in the 1960s, there was this sense that you had not fulfilled your musical journey until you had feasted on The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Time Out which remains a magical, bewitching treat to this day.

Dave Brubeck's milestone album - a must own for any lover of jazz, blues or rock.

Dave Brubeck’s milestone album – a must own for any lover of jazz, blues or rock.

Dave Brubeck performed in the greater Niagara area many times in recent decades, including at the Shea’s Theatre of Performing Arts in Buffalo, New York, as recently as last year. He generously allowed his name and fame to be used to support great theatrical institutions like Shea’s and local PBS channels, including those in Buffalo.

 We have lost one of the last great jazz artists from the middle period of this genre’s history – someone who stretches back to the great Avant-guard days of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. 

Goodbye Dave, and thanks for the music. If you can find his late, great quartet’s version of Blue Rondo A La Turk, put it on, and think about how much cooler and mind-bending that is than so much of the computerized crap the music industry is cranking out now.

(Niagara At Large invites you to share your comments below.)

3 responses to “Goodbye To A Jazz Giant Who Was A Great Friend Of This Greater Niagara Region

  1. Thanks for this, Doug. Terry and I heard the sad news as we were driving into Toronto on Wednesday…Brubeck was one of the great originals, all right.

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  2. Thank you Doug, for this tribute to one of the greats of music – not just jazz!
    One of the first three record albums I ever bought was Time Out, back when I was starting my broadcasting career in 1964. Fast forward more than 30 years and the first cd I ever bought was — you guessed it — Time Out. Then, back in the early 2000s, I won a pair of tickets to see Dave Brubeck at Shea’s. A young friend (a rock drummer) went with me and was amazed when Dave tottered out onto the stage. My friend didn’t know much about Brubeck but was amazed when he began to play.
    Another younger friend, also a drummer in a St. Catharines-based band, posted a tribute to Brubeck on his Facebook page the other day. I commented on his posting, and he pointed out that his admiration for Brubeck came about after I extolled the virtues of Time Out to him. He went out and bought the cd …. loved it … and now he too as the vinyl version as well.
    In a nutshell what I am saying is that Dave Brubeck was a highly-talented and respected musician. In other words, “a musician’s musician.”
    His music transcends generations and genres, time and space.

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  3. Rory B. O'Connor

    Hello Doug: Very well done. A solid tribute to a very wonderful and solid citizen of the world. I live in Buffalo and was fortunate to sit on the Board of Directors of a wonderful not for profit entity called Computers For Children
    As part of our mission to minimize the digital divide, we raised funds in a variety of ways.
    One of which was our Annual Gala Event, usually right before Christmas. One year, we were fortunate enough to sign Dave Brubeck as our great attraction to the event. He was to play with the Buffalo Great Bobby Militello, who traveled and played with Dave for many years.
    I had the great fortune of spending a fair bit of time with Mr. Brubeck and asked if he would mind having a local talent to open for him. He thought that it would be great.
    Jared Izzo, now in Boston, was 17 at the time and I invited him to be our opening entertainment. He is a gifted musician–piano and guitar, and songwriter so he blended some of his material with Dave’s.
    Dave was very impressed and invited Jared up to play with his group. Very wonderful indeed.
    Even more amazing was that Dave did this “concert for us” on his 81st birthday, and donated half of his fee back to our Charity. He and Bobby played for three hours.
    What a tremendous man and influence on so many lives….and it was right here in the Buffalo Niagara Region.
    Kind regards,
    Rory B. O’Connor
    Snyder NY

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