Today is the 90th birthday of jazz legend Dave Brubeck. Born in Concord, CA, Brubeck grew up on his father's ranch. He often attributed his ability to juggle multiple rhythms in the same piece to a childhood spent watching the rhythm of horses trotting across the field while thinking of another in his head and pounding another on his leg. You can really hear the rhythm of a ranch in his his 1961 composition "Unsquare Dance" (which is where I got the title of this blog).
There are a number of tributes across the web in honor of Brubeck's 90th birthday. I like this one at the Wall Street Journal. Jamie Cullum wrote a brief essay for BBC. And Turner Classic Movies is debuting a documentary called "In His Own Sweet Way" today at 5pm. The title of the documentary is a riff on a Brubeck composition called "In Your Own Sweet Way".
In spite of his advanced age and pacemaker surgery in October, Brubeck is still writing and touring more than people a third his age. He recently played a sold out three night set at The Blue Note in New York City. I got the chance to see him in Morristown, NJ a few years back and he was amazing. I'd definitely see him again next time he plays nearby.
Happy birthday, Dave! Here's hoping for many more.
In Your Own Sweet Way:
My tribute from 2 years ago (with two more clips) is here.