[f_minor] Take Five

Anita Monroe rubatoatm at gmail.com
Wed Dec 5 14:15:56 MST 2012

I've NEVER thought of Dave Brubeck in that way.  I first heard him live
here in Clemson in 1955 and really enjoyed hearing him.  I liked his
rhythms and complications.  I heard him again in Key West in the late 80's
and he was even better.  I guess all of us have different opinions.


On Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 3:56 PM, David Pelletier <promonde at aol.com> wrote:

> Gee, how PC are you?
> Sent from my iPhone
> On Dec 5, 2012, at 2:58 PM, "Robert  Merkin" <bobmerk at earthlink.net>
> wrote:
> Nil nisi bono de mortuis.
> Beyond his freakish finger span -- I think he could play a 12th -- Brubeck
> filled a very undistinguished niche in jazz. He produced a "safe,"
> unsurprising product that white college-educated audiences felt comfortable
> consuming. It was also "television safe" because with very few
> exceptions, USA commercial networks took decades to broadcast
> African-American (Negroes in those days) artists.
> (Only Hefner's "Playboy After Dark" featured integrated or black jazz
> artists; it was a syndicated show never broadcast in the racially
> segregated South.)
> With his "revolutionary" and whack time signatures, Brubeck's work was
> European//classically sophisticated -- but soulless. He seemed to view
> improvisation -- the heart of jazz -- as a slovenly embarrassment; there's
> not a measure of improvisation in his super-selling breakthrough albums.
> That's why saxophonist Paul Desmond deserted the DB Quartet. He knew
> Brubeck wasn't playing jazz and never would. Desmond and Gerry Mulligan
> were the only white contemporaries of Brubeck who "got it," who seamlessly
> recorded with black artists.
> I'm sorry to say that in the USA 1950s, genuine, historical-roots black
> jazz and R&B scared white Americans. It was spontaneous, energetic,
> exciting, thrilling, and worst of all, highly sexual, its sexual references
> only thinly veiled with puns and jokes. That didn't matter until the 1960s,
> because none of the major recording labels would touch black artists; their
> brilliant (and naughty) work got its limited airplay and sales on "race"
> labels sold only in the black ghettos.
> Brubeck got all that airplay and filled stadiums because his stuff wasn't
> very challenging, contained references to respectable classical music, and
> didn't frighten white kids (or their parents who snooped to hear what the
> kids were listening to).
> Brubeck didn't invent this niche. In previous decades, Paul Whiteman (and
> no white man was more aptly named) sanitized George Gershwin's jazz
> derivitives for white audiences, and in the '40s Benny Goodman did the
> same. Goodman actually featured African-American musicians in his band (I
> don't think Glenn Miller did).
> It's easy to blame the big labels and radio and television networks as the
> villains of this sad American history, but it was the timidity and
> conformity of white consumers which did most of the harm. (It was rock's
> "scholars" like the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and the early Beatles who
> re-discovered historical African-American jazz and blues for white
> audiences.)
> Europeans weren't so timid. During the Nazi era, Germans (Berliners
> mostly) braved the concentration camp to smuggle in black American jazz
> records, and during the Soviet era Eastern Europeans would risk the gulags
> to listen to their beloved jazz. This was, after all, depraved and decadent
> Western music.
> I've often wondered if I'd have the guts to risk prison to listen to my
> favorite music. But for decades thousands did -- and I suspect in some
> "Great Firewall" places, people still do.
> Bob
> Massachusetts USA
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Kpapademas at aol.com
> *To:* f_minor at glenngould.org
> *Sent:* Wednesday, December 05, 2012 12:31 PM
> *Subject:* [f_minor] Take Five
> The passing of Dave Brubeck, 91 years old!
> http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/chi-dave-brubeck-dead-20121205,0,7126256.column
> Take Five!
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=faJE92phKzI
> K
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