Thursday, December 06, 2012

Salute to Music of Cool

Dave Brubeck died on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, one day before his 92nd birthday.

In so many ways the music produced by his group, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, defines "the essence of cool."

Their 1959 album, Time Out, was the first jazz album to sell a million copies.  It contained perhaps their most famous song, "Take Five," written by saxophonist Paul Desmond.  Its suavity is given a joyous distinction by its 5/4 meter, referenced in the song title.

This 5/4 time, when used well, adds a kind of unstoppable-seeming, driving force to compositions.  Familiar uses of the meter include
  • Jerry Goldsmith's 1st-Season theme for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  • Lalo Schifrin's TV theme for Mission: Impossible
  • "Within You Without You" by George Harrison on Sgt Pepper
  • Jethro Tull's 1969 song "Living in the Past"
  • "Everything's Alright" in Jesus Christ Superstar
The song "Take Five" has become so iconic for "the good life" that nearly forty years on, it was used for a 1997 Infiniti car commercial, unfortunately narrated by the insufferably smug-sounding Jonathon Pryce.  Here is the only link I could find to this commercial.

A quotation I wrote down in high school says something like, "Some people strengthen the society simply by being the person that they are."  That certainly applies to the musical life of Dave Brubeck and his Quartet.

S-a-l-u-t-e !!

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