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A Dave Brubeck Playlist

Philip Clark, author of Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time, has put together a special playlist dedicated to the man himself.


I Found A New Baby – solo, 1942

“Recorded when he was a student, Brubeck’s right hand was alive to the transformative powers of improvisation as his left provided a muscular, stride piano motor.”


Laura – Dave Brubeck Octet, 1946

“Brubeck’s first fully fledged solo on record…climaxed with six hammered clusters perched somewhere on the border between harmony and noise.”


I Didn’t Know What Time It Was – Dave Brubeck Trio, 1950

“Brubeck takes the title ‘I Didn’t Know What Time It Was’ literally as his introduction bends and distends time, the beat a bullet dodged.”


Audrey – Dave Brubeck Quartet, 1954

“The fine-grain pastel colouring of ‘Audrey’ displayed a harmonic sensibility untypical within modern jazz.”


Little Girl Blue – Dave Brubeck Quartet, 1955

“Brubeck drove his solo into a tangle of compressed Jackson Pollock-like zigzags that defied harmonic analysis.”


Allegro-Blues – Dave Brubeck Quartet, New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein, 1960

“A smorgasbord of Romantic orchestration, twelve-tone technique, neoclassical harmony and a show-stopping Chopin-like ballad.”


Blue Rondo à la Turk – Dave Brubeck Quartet, 1963

“Performed live at Carnegie Hall in 1963, ‘Blue Rondo à la Turk’ and ‘Take Five’ were taken to a whole other plane, with digressive, exploratory solos that clawed open their structures.”


Cassandra – Dave Brubeck Quartet, 1965

“The album ‘Time In’ included the uncharacteristically bop-flavoured ‘Cassandra’.”


Things Ain’t What They Used To Be – Dave Brubeck Trio featuring Gerry Mulligan, 1968

“Brubeck’s solo begins with a savage flourish that growls from the lower end of the piano and leaves the tonality of the piece far behind.”


Unsquare Dance – Two Generations of Brubeck, 1973

Two Generations of Brubeck – Dave working with his sons – was a protean leap into all sorts of unknowns…reworked versions of Brubeck classics slammed into freshly composed pieces.”


Truth – Dave Brubeck Trio featuring Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond, 1972

“After two choruses of choppy, angular playing – but in time – all hell breaks loose…Brubeck’s right hand parts company with his left hand, an illusion of two different tempi.”


Take Five – Dave Brubeck Quartet, 1982

“‘Take Five’ would be different each night, as Brubeck moulded his signature piece around the consequences of time, place and mood.”