Hardly a trivial pop-jazz evangelist, California's white pianist Dave Brubeck
managed the feat of reconnecting the masses with jazz music. His compositions,
such as The Duke (august 1955) and In Your Own Sweet Way (february 1956),
were steeped in jazz tradition but often make him sound like a predecessor of
the "third stream".
His piano playing, best displayed on Solo (april 1956), could be angular
and subversive. The classic Quartet (Brubeck, alto saxophonist
Paul Desmond, drummer Joe Morello, black bassist Eugene Wright) crafted
Time Out (august 1959), the first million-selling jazz record,
but both the hits, Desmond's Take Five (in 5/4 time) and Blue Rondo a la Turk (in 9/8), indulged in odd time signatures.
His alter ego, alto saxophonist Paul "Desmond" Brentenfield, a stalwart of Brubeck's groups since 1948, was the prototypical "cool" musician, almost mechanical and supernatural in the flowing, linear and prudent accompaniment and solos he provided for the group (notably for his Take Five).
Brubeck proved his musical ambitions by scoring
the ballet Points on Jazz (composed in 1960),
the oratorio The Light In The Wilderness (march 1968),
the cantatas The Gates of Justice (october 1969),
Truth is Fallen (august 1971) and La Fiesta de la Posada (1976),
and the mass To Hope (june 1995).
Dave Brubeck died in december 2012.
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