Profile of the influential jazz pianist Dave Brubeck as he approaches his 90th birthday, who had one of the biggest popular hits in jazz history with Take Five.
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PIANO MUSIC PLAYS
HE PLAYS: "Blue Rondo a la Turk" by Dave Brubeck
HE CONTINUES PLAYING: "Blue Rondo a la Turk" by Dave Brubeck
I love that, I love that song.
When Dave comes out and that applause goes up...
APPLAUSE AND CHEERS
..at this time in his life
it is not only the dexterity, the thought, the improvisation...
It is also the thank you, because that music
is Dave doing what he loves to do and what he wants to do.
HE PLAYS INTRO
MUSIC: "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck
APPLAUSE AND CHEERS
MUSIC CONTINUES: "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck
The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Brubeck, piano, Paul Desmond, alto saxophone,
Joe Morello, drums, Eugene Wright, bass -
became synonymous with modern jazz 60 years ago.
Brubeck has been an ambassador for his music.
He took it out of the rarefied circles of a musical elite
and taught it to America and the rest of the world.
His music has always had the utmost integrity,
with daring experiments in harmony and time signatures.
But it's always been accessible.
His most famous piece, Take Five, written by saxophonist Paul Desmond,
was in the Top 10 in every country that had a hit parade.
MUSIC CONTINUES: "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck
He became the first jazz musician
to appear on the cover of Time Magazine.
56 years on, he remains as committed to his music as ever.
His band has been voted Best Jazz Group of 2010
in the readers' poll in Downbeat, America's jazz bible.
On December 6th he will be 90 years old.
For me, music is everything.
I do believe the icons you've grown up with that are huge...
In the end everybody is just a person and they just live a regular life.
Whatever contribution they've made gets put into the puzzle.
It's always amazing to be able to put a bracket around people and say,
"Here is somebody you should look at because this is somebody who's really special."
MUSIC: "Unsquare Dance" by Dave Brubeck
Dave, you are such an icon to so many of us.
I have to ask you formally, you were born, weren't you?
You were a very youthful whatever you are at this point.
-Where were you born?
In Concord, California - near San Francisco.
I do believe that people from northern California have a different bent
than say southern Californians or New Yorkers. We're just... We are northern Californians.
What was your family like, your parents?
My father was
a cattleman and a champion roper.
In fact, he was number one at the big rodeos in California in the '20s.
Dave Brubeck's musical inspirations were classical music,
the beats from horse's hooves, and cowboy songs.
My mother was a piano teacher,
and she wanted to be a great concert pianist.
MUSIC: "Dziekuje" by Dave Brubeck
And my father said to my mother,
"Dave is my last chance. He's going to be a cattleman."
And she said, "No, he has to go to college like his brothers."
And he said, "Well, if he goes to college
"he is going to study to be a veterinarian."
So I went to school in Stockton, California,
College of Pacific as a pre-med.
And at the end of the first year,
the zoology teacher said, "Brubeck, go across the lawn
"to the conservatory because your mind is not in this lab."
So the next year I went to the conservatory.
MUSIC CONTINUES: "Dziekuje" by Dave Brubeck
What did you want to be?
Did you want to be a concert pianist as your mother was?
No, I wanted to play jazz.
That's what I wanted
from the time I was very little, maybe six years old.
I loved jazz, and I wouldn't practise classical piano.
Was your mother upset that you were playing jazz
and not going for concert piano?
Oh, yeah, very upset.
And the way she finally got around to my thinking,
she was in the car with me one day and Art Tatum was on the car radio.
And he was God to all of us.
Dave Brubeck told a great story about Cleo Brown,
-did you know Cleo Brown?
He said Cleo Brown turned him on to Art.
And once he heard Art Tatum, of course,
everyone else like Fats Waller and everybody said, "That's God right there"
That's right, you got it.
And she turned to me and she said, "David,
-"now I understand why you want to play jazz piano."
And that turned it around a bit.
By golly, from there on she was an enthusiast for your work.
Yes, she followed me. Would come to the concerts.
MUSIC: "Yesterdays" by Dave Brubeck
Dave was a senior in college and I was a sophomore when we met.
So we almost missed each other because we didn't go out until...
I guess it was May,
towards the end of the semester, wasn't it, of the last year.
One of the first dates I ever took my wife out on, she was about 18,
was to take her to a typical jazz club
where we were the only so-called whites in the club.
I wanted to show her my idea of heaven.
It was this atmosphere that I loved,
that I thought was the greatest joy on Earth.
On our first date, I proposed marriage.
I thought, "Boy, here's a woman that understands me!"
In the three hours on the first night,
the first date we were together,
we talked more about what her life and my life was going to be
than I'd ever talked with a girl that I'd known for years.
When that happens, you'd better go with the flow.
We were married during World War II.
By getting married when we did, Dave was in the army,
I was still in school...
And...I had just turned 19 at the time that we were married.
And then we had a very short time together
before Dave was shipped overseas.
After I left college I had to go right into the army.
They sent me to Fort MacArthur.
-You went directly into the combat.
You were in the European theatre or the Pacific?
European, in Patton's army.
In Patton's army!
With him through France and into Germany.
Oh, my goodness.
And in the Bulge, which was...
Yes, you were at the battle. OK. Wow!
And here's when a lot of things happened to me,
because there were some Red Cross girls
came up in a truck
with a big box on the back of the truck.
The side of the box lowered down and it became a stage.
There was a piano.
They said, "Is there a piano player here? We'd like to sing."
So I raised my hand and they said, "Come on up and play."
So I played. The next morning we were supposed to go into battle.
We were lined up and three names were called out.
And that reason was
the colonel in charge of the 17th Replacement Depot
said, "I never want that soldier to go to the front.
"I want him to stay here, I want to form a band."
What kind of music did you play for the troops?
Military stuff or jazz or...?
Never any military stuff.
One of the first things I wrote was We Cross The Rhine.
We crossed at Remagen and as the trucks went down the bank
and hit that bridge there was a certain rhythm.
And I thought, "Boy, I'd like to capture that rhythm in music."
And capture the feeling of crossing the Rhine.
So that day I wrote the piece We Crossed The Rhine.
And how did the words go to your melody?
"We crossed the Rhine, the time was winter.
"Why? The ground was frozen.
"Why oh why were we chosen
"to take this ground?"
How long did you stay in Europe, then?
Oh...till January '46.
After the war.
And I knew the semester in school
had just started at Mills College, Oakland, California,
where this great French composition teacher
had told me after the war
I could study with him. So through the GI Bill
I was able to get a wonderful education.
Darius Milhaud was one of the foremost French composers
of the 20th century. He had to leave France in 1939
to escape the increasing persecution of Jews in Europe.
Dave Brubeck met Milhaud in 1946,
and a profound personal and musical relationship was forged.
Darius was a very respected French bass composer.
Classically-trained, came from the classical world,
very heavily influenced by the French tradition -
Ravel, Debussy, etc - before him. But who had this
very, very open view of music.
One of the musics that he discovered and that he loved -
and he was very pioneering in this sense - was jazz.
And he happened to have come to the United States
to teach in California, right around the time
that Dave Brubeck was looking to continue his musical studies
on the GI Bill after World War II.
I'd like to say about Milhaud,
beyond the fact that he really was a musical genius,
that he was a very, very kind man.
Very good to us, very good to Dave.
Darius Milhaud was the first serious musician
to become interested in jazz.
And, as early as 1923,
he incorporated this form of music in his ballet,
The Creation Of The World.
Here now to meet the Milhauds are several of his former students,
whom he affectionately calls his Mills College boys.
Teacher Milhaud filled them with counterpoint and polytonality.
But, says Brubeck, he also advised us to stick to jazz,
otherwise we would be working out of our own field
and not taking advantage of our American heritage.
Milhaud was the beacon
that came here and shone for all the jazz musicians.
Here he is saying jazz is a great art form.
He told us things like Satie, his teacher,
said "jazz cries out its soul and nobody cares."
He would say to us when we tried to sound like European music,
"Why are you doing this?"
He'd say, "You can play boogie-woogie."
HE PLAYS BOOGIE-WOOGIE
That's the way every lesson with Milhaud would start.
HE PLAYS BOOGIE-WOOGIE
He composed as if you were writing a letter.
Not a very carefully thought-out letter,
because everything was just moving as fast as his pen could go.
Then he would send it off to the publisher.
I've just finished the second movement of the sonatina.
Do you want to come and try it on the piano?
-Not so fast.
Stravinsky wanted Madeleine to come to New York
from Mills College, because she is an actress that can read music.
-And you knew Madeleine very well.
-I heard that she just passed away.
-104, can you imagine?!
-I can't believe it.
He gave me a direction - "Never give up jazz.
"You can play jazz." He'd say, "I wish I could play jazz.
"You want to be a composer like me, I want to be like you.
"Don't give up what you can do."
Dave, uh...played nothing at all like he's playing now.
He would, uh...be playing...
Something like Milhaud with his right hand and Bartok with his left,
in several different keys and several different rhythms.
And this is not on his chorus, this is while you're trying to play,
or some poor singer is trying to sing, and he's going...
Uh... I, at the same time,
was playing at the top of the horn, the high notes.
THEY PLAY: "Brandenburg Gate" by Dave Brubeck
APPLAUSE AND CHEERS
In the early '50s, a kind of jazz developed on the West Coast
which was laid back and lyrical.
It was labelled "cool", in contrast to the hot bebop of New York.
Some of the key names were Chet Baker,
Gerry Mulligan and Cal Tjader.
But however persuasive the word "cool" was to describe that style,
and however popular it was, and however much Dave Brubeck might have
been represented as its epitome,
the tremendous range of his music and imagination
could never be pigeon-holed into one term.
Cool in the sense that it was used as a term to define music of,
say, the West Coast in the late '50s and early '60s
does not now and never has applied to Dave.
Dave is... Sometimes he plays very lyrically and gently,
and sometimes he... thunders away at you
He's unique, he's one of a kind.
I never agreed with being called cool because, uh...
At the time when they were calling me cool,
I can show you records that were steaming, they were so hot.
It was a wonderful period.
And of course there was the Burma Lounge
on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland,
and we were all kind of a bunch of kids and we thought George Shearing
and a lot of the groups that were coming along then were great,
and then somebody said, "There's this new guy
"down at the Burma Lounge," so we've got to go down
and see him. So we came in there and sat in the back,
lied about our age so we could get an Acme Beer or something like that.
The sleazy joints were some of the greatest places to play jazz.
HE PLAYS JAZZ PIANO
There was some element of slumming to go there.
People thought they were really brave
if they went there once in their life. I was there every night.
And I got accustomed to thinking this was the closest thing to heaven
I would ever know on earth, because the people were so great.
was one of our first jobs with the trio,
with Cal Tjader, Ron Crotty.
-It was great.
Yeah, I remember seeing that,
because Cal was playing
-both drums and vibes.
-And he could switch back and forth
immediately and not miss a beat.
I don't see how he can move that fast
-from one instrument to another.
-Yeah, I don't know either.
We made our first four recordings of 78s in a half-hour.
-You just rambled right through 'em, huh?
-Had to because...
-And they were the red vinyl on Fantasy.
I think there's so much about Dave Brubeck's story
that you can say, "What if this wasn't there?
"What if he hadn't met up with Paul Desmond?"
Paul was not supposed to be part of his group.
It was Paul who decided, "I have to play with Dave Brubeck,"
and he kept pushing and pushing Dave to put him into the quartet,
because Dave was perfectly happy to have a trio.
And then we formed the quartet
and by that time Dave had mellowed enough to realise
what has been one of the primary rules of the group ever since,
that whoever is playing the solo at any given moment
is the one who deserves... uh...care and attention.
And he has become, or he became almost instantly, I should say,
one of the really best accompanists in the world.
I went over to the Black Hawk and saw the quartet when it first came into being and it was great.
Thus began one of the legendary collaborations
in the history of jazz.
To me, Paul...
had a West Coast wind sound,
almost a bottomless feel.
-Paul went on to become more distinctive in his own style.
That extremely...beautiful way he played after a few gin-and-tonics.
Dave's brother, Howard Brubeck, is chairman
of the music department of Palomar College in California.
Some time ago, he wrote a fairly long
and very interesting work for the Brubeck Quartet with an orchestra.
He called it Dialogue For Jazz Combo And Orchestra.
The resulting thing was conducted
by Leonard Bernstein, you may have heard the record.
We've condensed, rather Dave has condensed, the second movement
for simply quartet use.
Jazz in the '50s was a smoke-filled room,
little nightclubs. It wasn't a concert music.
Festivals hadn't come along yet.
The only concerts were Norman Grant's Jazz At The Philharmonic.
Brubeck took it out of that cult situation,
which had developed around Bird and Dizzy
and the concept that a jazz musician was involved with drugs,
was involved with...you know, this romance that had grown up about
and still is there about the life of a jazz musician.
He is Mr Dave Brubeck! Please welcome Dave Brubeck and his band!
CHEERS AND APPLAUSE
Brubeck has always been attentive to the work of other musicians,
often paying tribute by dedicating compositions to them.
Marian McPartland is a long-time friend and musical colleague,
and he gave her name to a composition he performed at a recent Newport Jazz Festival.
You played wonderfully that day.
All that college series -
Jazz At Oberlin, Jazz At College Of The Pacific, Jazz Goes To College -
he brought young people into jazz.
He was an educator.
And in that time in history,
when jazz was becom...
-Most of the jazz artists were all older.
When you're that age, you know, when you're between sort of 16 and 22,
you're really willing to be open to anything,
and I liked anything that was emotional, you know,
and obviously going through a lot of different genres of music.
But...Dave Brubeck sort of stuck out for me.
I was especially attracted to that, what he was doing,
because it wasn't jazz that was so far out.
He was the first jazz musician to take over the college circuit
and played in colleges all over the country.
It occurred to me that this was an inroad that really hadn't been developed,
so I just looked up all of the colleges that were within driving distance
and wrote letters, usually to the student association.
The fact that, um, Iola Brubeck appealed to the students themselves
when she first started booking Dave and the quartet onto college campuses was very important.
Iola Brubeck's idea of taking her husband's new music to colleges
opened the doors for other groups.
The Modern Jazz Quartet and Gerry Mulligan's band
shared Brubeck's mixing of jazz and classical music.
They all made music that was ambitious and experimental
and yet their sound was instantly appealing.
They all became household names.
It seems that the differences between the string quartet
and the Jazz Quartet are possibly more obvious than the similarities.
Because of the presence of our rhythm section that plays an unvarying tempo.
But, based on this unvarying tempo, we have a wide latitude
and the possibility of contrapuntal interplay between two or more voices.
Brubeck's contribution to modern jazz was significantly
in the employment of complex and unusual time signatures.
5/4, 11/8, 7/4.
Most jazz was in straight 4/4 time.
He found drummer with a unique genius for realising his ideas.
Paul said to me,
"You've got to go and hear this guy, Joe Morello. He's so fantastic."
I asked Joe if he would join the group.
And he said, "Well, I'll tell you, I'll join the group,
"but your drummer and your bass player are out to lunch.
"You never let them do anything."
At the Marquee, there was a kind of a sign
that was Dave Brubeck Quartet featuring Paul Desmond,
and the other guys were nothing. They could have been zilch.
I said, "Joe, I'll feature you."
So the first night he joined I gave him a drum solo.
I did the drum solo and the place went wild.
People just stood up and clapped and all this nonsense.
Paul Desmond, in the middle of... the end of the solo,
he just walks off to stand and runs in the dressing room.
And Paul said, "Either he goes or I go."
And I said, "Paul, he's not going."
Which was a shock, you know?
Gene is one of the finest bass players I have ever worked with
and probably the easiest person to get along with,
because usually bass players and drummers never agree.
Eugene Wright's steady bass patterns were an ideal complement
to the more complex rhythms of Brubeck and Morello.
When racists in southern states objected to his presence,
Brubeck cancelled the concerts.
There is a group sound that just naturally comes with these guys
after we've played together this many years.
You see, each guy...
Desmond I consider the most lyrical jazz musician playing.
I consider Morello to be the greatest exponent of time and rhythm there is today.
And being that I feel this way about these guys,
I can get a certain thing to happen with them.
I want Desmond to be lyrical. I want Morello do all these crazy things.
And I want Eugene Wright to be the swinging rock bottom of the group, which he is.
In the mid-1950s under Goddard Lieberson
and his producer George Avakian,
Columbia became the home of such jazz giants as Louis Armstrong,
Duke Ellington, Miles Davis,
and the most successful of them all, Dave Brubeck.
Very tasty, Dave, very tasty.
I had the good fortune of having to go out to San Francisco,
the Bay area,
and I heard the quartet for the first time there.
I had already heard their records on Fantasy of course
and been pretty impressed.
Dave said that he was breaking off from Fantasy Records,
a company that he had started himself,
and would be available.
And I told him, "I'd be delighted to have you record for Columbia."
And I said, "I have no idea what I can offer you.
"What do you want, in the way of an advance?"
He told me that if he could get a 6,000 advance,
it would pay off the mortgage on the family ranch
and I said, "I think I can swing that."
One thing I could say about Dave Brubeck is obviously that
a lot of those albums in the '50s and '60s,
they have modern art
on the front, so I know it's an album of his.
I think it's Time Further Out where there's Miro on the front.
And it's really... It's music that really does make jazz sound like
kind of abstract, modern paintings.
When you look at those paintings,
you can really hear
the way Dave interprets that kind of artwork in his music.
To me, the definition of art is to be able to communicate with others,
to communicate emotions.
Because it's...that's what art is.
It's the ability to
transfer an emotion to another person.
Dave, it turns out that today,
there seems to be as many kinds of jazz as,
well, French political parties, for instance.
And we don't know where one jazz performance stands next to another,
whether you're a left-centrist, veering to the right...
Where are you? Are you a progressive? Retrogressive?
Well, we just like to be considered contemporary.
In being contemporary, what do you consider...?
Well, we're contemporary in a fortunate time in the history of jazz
because I don't think ever before were contemporary jazz musicians
allowed to use the jazz that had gone before.
You see, we can use Dixieland, swing, bop,
we can incorporate everything into our playing
and no-one considers us corny.
You feel you're not tied into a set technique?
It's a very healthy situation, and I think it's the first time.
In the 1950s jazz had a very special place.
It was not just an idea of hipness, or a place that, you know...
It was that idea of something that was way off the mainstream,
I think there's a lot of good fortune, happy timing,
in Dave Brubeck's career
that has, like, propelled him to the level that he's on.
The fact that he was on the cover of Time Magazine in 1954.
Who knew, you know, that that was going to be
the point at which a national magazine would want to cover jazz?
I mean, modern jazz had been around for a good 10 years by that point
and they could have chosen Charlie Parker...
..or Thelonious Monk...
..or Dizzy Gillespie as the hero to put on the cover.
Um, it can be said that they went for a white face.
The thing about Dave,
it's kind of strange for a guy who's light years away from a racist,
who's light years away from a commercial guy,
who doesn't make recordings with any intention of pandering to the public, right?
But the public likes him.
And certainly, Dave Brubeck is very aware of the fact
that they put his face on the cover of Time Magazine
before they put someone like Duke Ellington.
And he felt almost apologetic about that.
I loved Duke Ellington.
All my life and his life,
right to the end we were good friends.
He wrote some really beautiful things. You know?
I didn't really get into jazz until I was in high school.
That's when I started to focus on jazz and realise how great it was.
But I said to Paul,
"Why don't you put a melody over what Joe's doing in 5/4 time?
"Because I'm doing an album right now in all different time signatures
"and I'm going to call it Time Out."
And so, Paul's assignment was to try to
put a melody over, "ung-junka-chunk, boom-boom, ung-junka-chunk, boom".
Which was Joe's rhythm.
HE PLAYS PIANO
It's all black keys so it's not too hard!
You listen back to Take Five, even the solo that Paul Desmond did,
it almost doesn't sound like a solo, it sounds like a written out, beautiful piece of music.
Every note is so crystal-clear and there's a lot of density and space.
I think that record was just such a ground-breaking record for that reason,
that no-one had ever approached jazz that way before.
I was maybe 14 or 15.
My dad stuck in a tape and the car and played Take Five.
And it was part of my first jazz education.
Obviously. I didn't know about him, I hadn't seen him live or seen him on the television,
but Take Five was a tune that I knew and understood and loved from a very early age.
Before I was interested in jazz.
Yeah. Amazingly enough, I think it's the highest-selling jazz single ever made.
You cannot imagine Time Out or Take Five being as successful
without Joe Morello's drum solo, without Paul Desmond's melody.
Without that incredible decision to do it in 5/4.
And the jazz critics, they always thought Desmond was the key to the group.
Desmond was only the icing on the cake. The cake was Dave Brubeck.
In many ways, it's the tune I look forward to,
probably the most, of the evening.
Is how far out are we going to go on this one chord progression?
Some of us are musicians, some of us are something else.
But you're very aware of sound, of rhythms.
Wherever I go,
sometimes it's crickets - the sound of the water in the stream outside.
Strange Meadow Lark
was really my imitation
of the meadow lark that I remembered in northern California.
# Da-da dum, dee-da-da... #
'In 1960, Brubeck and Iola switched coasts and settled
'in Wilton, Connecticut, where they still live.
'There they raised their six children - Darius, Michael, Chris, Catherine, Daniel and Matthew.'
Those days, my life was centred around raising a family
and those cool guys do whatever they wanted to do.
'The members of this group,
'Darius Brubeck, on electric keyboards.'
'Chris Brubeck on bass.'
Danny Brubeck on drums. APPLAUSE
'When I grow up, you could play in five joints in one block,
'you could play jazz.'
That's gone. It's coming back...
-There are about five in this country, come to think of it.
It's a lot more difficult for you guys to work playing jazz than I did.
I really feel sorry.
I didn't want you to be jazz musicians. I told you!
His whole family - and I know you know Iola and Danny
and Chris and Darius - it's just an amazing family. They're all musical
and they're are all wonderful.
They all seem to have enjoyed the variety.
Yeah, they seem to embrace it.
Brubeck's pursuit of his musical ideas has been consolidated by his children.
Last year, along with Robert De Niro, Bruce Springsteen, Grace Bumbry and Mel Brooks,
Brubeck was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors - America's most prestigious cultural accolade.
His sons provided the band.
Ladies and gentlemen, the four sons of Dave Brubeck.
With more than 60 years in jazz, Brubeck has become the living repository of the music itself.
One of its greatest experimenters - he's always had the keenest appreciation of its history.
Like to start the set...
with one of the first blues -
maybe the first blues ever written by WC Handy.
It was called St Louis Blues.
Surprise to me,
it was the first blues ever written started as a tango.
Figure that one out, all you fusion lovers!
Say, the label says it's St Louis Blues.
It didn't sound much like St Louis Blues.
Well, in the opening, we did play the melody.
And, from then on, you know, as jazz musicians, you're free to
improvise on that tune - on those chord progressions.
Are there any rules for improvisation?
You bet your life there are.
The rules in jazz would just scare you to death.
They're are so strict, it's pitiful.
Just break one of the rules
and you'll never end up in another jam session with the same guys again - believe me!
In his early days, and still today,
he's as bold as anybody when he gets off on an idea
or he gets a semi-idea and he's kind of working it out.
You can kind of feel that, as it's going along.
That was part of the unravelling process.
It would be a 12 bar blues chorus.
From there on, we all improvise on this.
The bass player has a baseline that outlines the chord progressions.
Although he's playing a walking bass...
HE PLAYS WALKING BASS
..it's the same chord progressions throughout.
He stuck there most of the tune.
He can do any variation on these chord progressions.
While he's playing that...
..then we improvise.
And, if I want, I can play old-fashioned kind of...
Now, see that!
That isn't too modern.
'Brubeck's gifts - not only to play, but to introduce and explain jazz -
'made him an ideal candidate to be a key player in America's global cultural programmes,
'along with Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie.
'He became one of the great jazz ambassadors,
'even to the Eastern bloc during the most intense phase of the Cold War.'
Then, in 1958, the Dave Brubeck Quartet went on a State Department tour.
This was first hand knowledge of what went on and what happened when a jazz group went into a country
where jazz was a real novelty and where jazz was taken seriously as an American art form.
It was the very first State Department tour
Dave had gone on.
He did 12 concerts in Poland.
On the very last night,
he dedicated a new composition that he was inspired by visiting the Chopin museum.
Going through my mind was
all the Chopin that my mother had played.
You call it "Dziekuje" -
that means thank you in Polish.
Dave, you've been all over the world now.
Do you think people around the world react the same way to music?
What I did learn on this tour - that rhythm is an international language.
Not harmony and melody but rhythm.
Maybe the thing that binds humanity together is the heartbeat.
It's the first thing you hear - even before you're born, you hear your mother's heartbeat - a steady pulse.
You know, it's the last thing you hear before you die.
When you go to other countries like this,
do you look for their musical influences or do they just happen?
I look. I think if you could spend a lot more time in each country
you'd find a lot more that could be used in jazz or in our contemporary classical music.
This is the main way you're broadening the horizons of jazz at the moment -
through other nationalities' music.
Right. And I always thought this would be the way that jazz did broaden its scope,
because, from the beginning, it's been kind of the melting pot of music
and it should not be limited to what it used in the beginning, which was mainly African and European.
If you can figure out a way to reach into
the Turkish musical tradition, or Afghanistan or Iraq,
which is basically the trip that he made in 1958,
that kind of informed the Time Out album.
Blue Rondo A La Turk was a street rhythm.
I heard street musicians playing in Istanbul.
The rhythm fascinated me so much.
One, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, three,
one, two, one, two, one, two...
After Take Five, I then listened to, what was it? Unsquare Dance?
-Yeah, Unsquare Dance.
-I think was seven.
And then Blue Rondo A La Turk.
It really... I think music, the complexity of music is something that a lot of people don't like.
They say, that's not music if the intervals are slightly more
complicated than thirds and fifths, they think, "It's not music."
Or if the rhythm's complicated.
It's a different part of the brain that analyses that kind of thing.
When you're listening to thirds and fifths and simple common music - this part of the brain works.
Whereas, to analyse more complex music, you have to go to another side of the brain.
You only get to that if you're exposed to it.
-Which is the problem these days.
It's like being right-handed but deciding to write a little bit left-handed for a while
just to exercise your brain.
That Blue Rondo A La Turk is interesting.
I was listening to Emerson Lake and Palmer a while back,
just recently here,
and their interpretation was really bizarre and wild.
But it was amazing how it influences everybody in almost every form of music.
I'm sure Dave would have enjoyed it.
I know he has an open mind about music still.
I came across this, actually.
Look at that!
See what Dave wrote there? "For Keith, with many thanks for your 4/4 version."
The full version of Blue Rondo A La Turk.
Of course, he did actually write it in 9/8, which is, you know...
And I played it in 4/4.
Dave Brubeck, he showed up in 1994 at the White House one day.
35 years after the Time Out album.
And we started talking about music and I said I was a big fan.
He looked at me like "I've got you, you're just another politician."
He said now, "Come on! Besides Take Five, what tune did we ever do that you really liked?"
I said, "I really liked Blue Rondo."
He said, "You're kidding."
I said, "No, I really liked it."
He said, "I don't believe you."
I swear this happened. I said, "No, I did."
He said, "Hum the bridge."
And I did. # Da da da da da... #
Anyway, I did it. He said, you're the only elected official
who ever knew the bridge to that song.
Dave and I, I think, had thought about writing a musical for Broadway,
employing jazz, for quite some time.
The problem was to find a book that was a natural book.
And, er, about that time,
Louis Armstrong had gone to Africa and, of course,
so many jazz artists started going to Europe for the first time.
Would you believe that, after travelling through Africa, the Far East,
the Near East, Japan, this was my first time on the French Riviera.
So after that experience we decided this is what we would write about.
And the more we got involved in it, the more it seemed the only person
who could possibly play the leading role was Louis Armstrong.
On the recording. you can hear Louis actually choke up and cry.
# When will that great day come?
# And everyone that loveth is born of God
# When everyone is one... #
Is that why famous jazz musicians are often quite humble men?
Yeah. Well, Louis Armstrong would fit that category.
# And there will be no more misery
# When God tells man he's a really free. #
The only time the show we wrote for Louis, The Real Ambassador,
was ever done was at the Monterey Jazz Festival.
And there was no time to really rehearse, so we rushed through
a rehearsal on the day of the performance.
So I told Louis, "You should have a top hat
"and an attache case so you look like the real ambassador."
He said, "Man, I'm not going to wear a top hat and carry a briefcase."
And it came time for Louis to make his entrance
and the place broke into applause.
And I looked over and there's Louis with the top hat,
the attache case and he sang his first number, the place went wild.
And he said to me, "Pops, am I hamming it up enough to suit you?"
# I'm the real ambassador
# It is evident I was sent
# By government to take your place
# All I do is play the blues and meet the people face-to-face
# I'll explain and make it plain I represent the human race
# And don't pretend no more... #
It was rough going. It's always been rough going for jazz musicians.
And then, when you finally rise out of this poverty situation,
there's different ways you can do it.
You can get into studio work, into Hollywood work,
into playing Broadway shows, or you can finally make it.
Because of the success that Brubeck has achieved,
he has been able to fulfil his musical ambitions comprehensively.
In his recent collaboration with cellist, Yo-Yo Ma,
he's made his mother's dream of the classical concert hall come true.
Sounds Of Joy.
I took the old Gregorian chant...
..and then my son, Matthew, took that
and he arranged it and...
..thought like a cellist,
which a cellist can do better than a pianist.
This is a fabulous song, just fabulous.
The performing part is what made Dave Brubeck.
Composing is something he loves.
He will be remembered as a composer as time goes on.
Like his idol, Duke Ellington, Brubeck has incorporated styles
and sounds from different disciplines and different places.
And like Ellington, some of his most engaged music has been sacred music.
The centre of The Light In The Wilderness for me
is Christ's statement "Love your enemies, do good to those that hate you."
And that's right in the middle of that piece.
I had a friend from New Orleans and she'd say, "Lord, Lord,
"what will tomorrow bring?"
And so I set that.
And Iola added,
"Today I felt an arrow
"stinging in a wound so deep
"my eyes refuse to weep."
# ..My eyes
# Refuse to weep... #
What will tomorrow bring?
# What will tomorrow bring? #
It ends with a question - it's up to you -
what will tomorrow bring? And the answer, that's up to you what happens tomorrow.
There are certain things that I haven't been able to say in jazz
that I can in my cantatas and oratorios.
I love the human voice.
I love to hear a choir sing.
Any way I can get goose flesh, I'm for that.
The mass he wrote several years ago appears to have had the deepest impact on him personally.
After completing that work, he joined the Catholic Church.
I became so involved with the mass
that it was almost like a calling that I didn't understand to join this church.
My family doesn't understand it and I can't explain it much more than that.
But the mass was such an experience for me.
Brubeck spent the summer working on a special request that was a special honour -
music for the mass that Pope John Paul was going to celebrate in San Francisco.
The reading that they wanted was "Upon this rock
"I will build my church." So...
And while we were performing, I heard the 70,000 people,
just the level of the stadium, just increase a bit,
and I looked up and the Pope was looking right over at us.
And I wondered
why the noise level had gone up.
So when the conductor came over to me when we finished, I said,
"Did the Pope bless us or something?"
And he said, "Either he blessed us or he's learning how to conduct in 4/4 time."
What kind of attitude do you have
to this word "heaven"?
How would you unpack its contents?
Well, I would say that
I do believe in heaven and I believe in eternal life.
And, er...I believe in the miraculous
and the things you can't explain.
And that's what faith is.
When you get to heaven, are there any particular people that you would like to meet there?
-Well, come on, give us some of them.
Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong,
Woody Herman and Paul Desmond,
we were together so many years.
He's more interested now in orchestral composition,
but I don't think that his composing would have meant as much
or mean as much if his performance hadn't carried him for 60 years,
thrilling audiences and thrilling people.
This guy is always having fun.
I mean, here he is at the age of 88, you know,
and he still has this incredible sort of
teenage enthusiasm for what he does.
The guy he's got now, Bobby, is really good. Have you heard him?
He's terrific. He doesn't try to imitate Paul exactly,
but he can do sweet and energetic. He's great.
I tell kids all time, I say, "Look, I don't care what you do,
"if you find something that you enjoy, do it."
A musician who predates even Brubeck is the great Jay McShann.
He gave Charlie Parker his first job.
McShann ran one of the wildest swing bands
in the heyday of Kansas City in the '30s and '40s.
And it's an amazing trick, that's all it is, it's just a trick.
And I always say the way you find that out
is you sit down to do something
and you decide at eight o'clock in the morning, you sit down, "I'm going to do this."
And you say, "I'm getting hungry." And you look up and it's eight o'clock at night.
Then you say, that's what you should be doing the rest of your life.
Bless you, thank you.
Isn't that wonderful?
-He's still got it.
-That's beautiful, beautiful.
And if you're a musician like Dave, or other great musicians,
you can do that at 90, depending on your talent.
It's something you can do forever.
The thing that I really admire about the Brubeck family is his wife,
all these years, it's still,
you come in and she's a beautiful flower in his dressing room.
Recently, my wife,
Iola, said, "Our 65th wedding anniversary's coming up.
"You remember years ago you wrote a song just for me on our anniversary?"
And I'm trying to remember it.
So I'll give it a try.
It's called "All My Love."
Ha-ha! Almost remembered it!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Three young men who emerged in the 1950s - Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Dave Brubeck - not only captured the public's imagination, but in their own unique way determined the evolution of jazz as we know it today.
This Clint Eastwood co-produced documentary tells Dave Brubeck's personal story, tracing his career from his first musical experiences to the overwhelming success of the Dave Brubeck Quartet and the iconic status he and his varied forms of musical expression have achieved.
It is told with contemporary interviews, vintage performances, previously unseen archive and additional performances filmed especially for the documentary. The story is also told by Dave and Iola Brubeck, both in their own words and by musical example. Contributors include Bill Cosby, Jamie Cullum, Yo-Yo Ma, George Lucas and Eastwood himself.
In 2009 Brubeck was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors, with Robert De Niro, Bruce Springsteen, Grace Bumbry and Mel Brooks. He played with his sons for President Obama at the White House, and 55 years ago became the first jazz musician to appear on the cover of Time magazine. His classic Take Five is as familiar today as in 1959 when it was a Top 10 hit all over the world.
Brubeck has an unlikely origin for a jazz giant, growing up on a ranch in Monterey, California. Monterey resident Clint Eastwood introduced Brubeck and his Cannery Row Suite at the 2006 Monterey Jazz Festival and each were so inspired by the success of the event they agreed to move forward with this full-length documentary together.