Dave Brubeck R.I.P.

One year ago today we observed Dave Brubeck’s 91st birthday.

Brubeck died yesterday and has been the subject of many remembrances and tributes. We’re sorry to see him go but there’s no question he used his time well and made a lasting impression. It will never be possible to measure the effect of his work on subsequent generations, but there’s a sense of it in these two videos posted on You Tube by his son, Chris.

The first is a performance recorded in June of 2011 where Dave makes a guest appearance with his son’s band. The Master comes out on stage to an ovation about 3 minutes into the recording.

And here’s a video of Dave and Chris talking about Ansel Adams, the photographer. They put together a symphonic piece for orchestras to play while Adams’ photographs are projected for the audience. Sounds majestic. But I particularly like the story they tell about Dave’s youth in northern California.

Musicians are composers. Photographers are composers. Talking about the similarities between the two art forms, Dave Brubeck said “That’s what you do as a composer – you develop a theme.”

Maybe we’re all composers in one way or another.

What themes have you developed?

53 thoughts on “Dave Brubeck R.I.P.”

  1. The theme each of us develops as we go along is a thread that gets us from a to b. The number of variations on a theme are endless and some work for me and not for you but the theme of our life is the thing we all need to celebrate.
    I got into authors a couple of years ago and the interesting about authors is that the daily experience is the food that feeds the writing end of the beast within. I think all of us deal with the beast within in our own way. The ability and the experiences that bring us out approach to life is what makes us each unique.
    Dave Brubeck is one I have seen play a few times at the Guthrie and orchestra hall, the last couple of times with his sons. H had such a nice flowing way about him like he knew why he was there and didn’t know exactly how it was going to come out but understanding that was part of the beauty of he deal.
    The themes I develop a different for whatever it is at hand, parenting, problem solving, brain storming, team building, bobbing and weaving or maybe ey a all one big theme and that is my legacy. The theme if tim. My kids will remember me for sure, not in ways I intended but in ways I absolutely created with a brush store as definate as any ever put to canvas.
    I hope to have a theme in place that can carry on after I have departed before all is said and done but life is step by step process and one step forward sometimes takes you two steps back so I am in a similar but different plac to the place I was yesterday and a year ago and a decade ago, always putting one foot in front of the other? There is the theme. One foot in front of the other.

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  2. I once had a very sage friend tell me, when I was in a bit of “what have I done with my life” angst (and foolishly comparing myself to a classmate who had advance a great deal more than I professionally), that I may not always be happy, but I always seemed content. Content with what I had, where I was and who I was. I think that’s true. Some of it comes from not really giving up on my six-year-old sensibilities that finds joy in small, everyday things (and what the same sage friend has called my “high need to celebrate”). Some of it is probably the dumb luck of genetics and the family that raised me. Whatever it is that got me here, I have realized since that conversation that my sage friend was right – I may not always be happy, but I am pretty much always content (and when I’m not, I figure out pretty dang quickly how to get back there).

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  3. My current theme is to find someone or somebody to replace me at my job within the next 5-6 years so that I can retire in good conscience knowing that someone will be able to provide services for the children in our region. I think that is why I am agreeing to do so many trainings now, and why I find supervision so appealing. There is a young therapist at our agency who I am mentoring and supervising, and it is great fun.

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  4. Good morning. I guess I am not very good at developing themes. I can organize, but that can be done without having a theme. I have tried to develop themes for sustainable agriculture meetings that I helped organize. However, I usually ask others who are helping me organize these meetings for theme suggestions. The themes that we ended up using for these meetings were usually ones others suggested.

    Maybe I am sort of a free form person. Also, maybe I just don’t pay much attention to the existence of themes. Perhaps I have unconsciously created themes.

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  5. I don’t follow jazz very closely these days, but I was a big follower of jazz when I was younger. Dave Brubeck is a favorite of mine. He is probably one of the best known jazz musicians and a creator of great jazz. I understand that Dave was the first jazz musician to appear on the cover of time magazine. I read that it bother him to have been the first to get on that cover because he thought some one like Duke Ellington should have been featured there before him. Dave was more or less from the cool jazz tradition that was somewhat centered on the west coast and sometimes seemed a little disconnected from the roots of jazz. However, I’m sure Dave knew a lot about the roots of jazz and was not too disconnected from them.

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  6. Magic is one theme that’s run through my entire life, long before I formally became Neopagan. Not so much the spellcasting kind of magic (which I can do, fairly badly), but the “enchantment of the world” that Yeats and C.S. Lewis talked about, a longing for beauty and mystery and connection to the nonhuman. I remember reading about mythology in the encyclopedia as early as second grade, discovering goddesses and dryads and the Sidhe and wishing I could slip sideways into their world–you can imagine the ecstasies when I discovered Tolkien! Part of it was just because I was kind of an outcast as a kid, therefore lonely and a little afraid of people, but I did have an innate mystical bent, paired with a mildly anarchic spirit that didn’t take well to being told what to think and believe. Fortunately, that longing for magic led me not only onto the religious path I’ve been following for almost 30 years, but into poetry and fantasy literature and thus into fandom and my community of friends.

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    1. BTW, I probably realized even as a youngster that the Sidhe were in fact Not Nice and not to be trifled with. However, given the opportunity, I might very well have chosen the dangers of the Otherworld over another day of boredom and fear at school with classmates who loathed me, teachers who resented me, and a curriculum that discouraged independent thought.

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      1. You will have to do a guest blog featuring your beliefs for us. I am intrigued and know nothing about it
        Let’s have sidhe and otherworld for dummies sometime

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  7. Really need to get back into my photography. The “problem” is that my art usually has something of my humor in it as well. And, of course, art is not allowed to have anything like humor. It has to be serious, deep, confusing, and/or unintelligible…but not humorous. Then it’s not “serious” art. Who made this “rule” up? I suspect it to be art critics and instructors (and maybe even some artists) that are so insecure about their jobs that they -have- to lend it as much weight as possible to justify being paid for what they do. I was actually told once, by some supposedly great photographer that images -had- to be shot horizontally because our eyes are aligned horizontally. I love creating art and I wish I could be a full-time artist but the “rules” surrounding art are just silly and infuriating.

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    1. I totally agree. Rules are meant to be broken – and the artists we think of as “great” are the ones who broke rules. So pish posh on the “no humor in art” thing, I say.

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    2. I know writers who have tied themselves in knots because their real strength is humor and they think humor isn’t “literary” enough to find a publisher or even be worth writing. They then try to write seriously and end up writing badly because they’re working against the story as it wants to be told. My usual method of dealing with them is hurling a copy of Gaiman and Pratchett’s “Good Omens” at their heads, but some of them have thick skulls and it keeps bouncing off.

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    3. One of my favorite pictures is one my friend took for a photography class. It’s a black-and-white photo of a wooden monkey and a white coffee mug. I don’t know why, but it tickles my fancy 🙂 It’s hanging on my cubicle wall at work. I have no idea if she got a good grade on it, but I love it.

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  8. My wife would rightly say that I have over-developed a few themes. My local Internet provider is a farce in many ways. I have not had Internet all night until an hour ago, at then it blinked again, making me reboot again. So I may be absent much of the day.

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    1. I just had a strange thing happen to me when I tried to post a comment. I got a message that my internet provider was doing maintenance and I should wait 5 minutes and then hit the refresh button. I did this and it didn’t work. After doing various things I closed the blog and then restarted it and found that my comment was posted. I don’t know how it got posted.

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        1. My provider was out for several hours yesterday afternoon and back by early evening. I think this morning the provider was still there but was doing some maintenance that held up the posting of my comment. Then they posted my comment without doing it the way their message indicated it would posted. This very confusing and I don’t know if I am clear on what happened.

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        2. Frontier. I think it the day before yesterday, not yesterday, that my provider was down. I got a call asking if I did get reconnected and they said they were down because a cable had been cut accidentally. When the provider was down I called Frontier and a technician checked out my system to be sure that there was nothing wrong with it. My system checked out and the technician said he would report that the provider was down in my area.

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        3. I got the same message at work this morning for my first post. How peculiar! I don’t know who the provider is for the firm.

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  9. Oh, I’ll throw this on before my connection collapses again: I have developed a theme in my pastels. In the last month I have painted three pictures of outdoor rock steps. One in Pipestone Quarry, One at Temperance River. The last at Gooseberry, but not where you might think. My favorite place on the North Shore, for who knows what reason, not I, is a set of steps along the shoreline in the park a quarter mile southeast of the mouth of the river. Someone needs to tell me the symbolic import of this. And Crow Girl, my favorite place in Tolkien is the Dimrill Stairs.

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  10. Sleeve less shirts. And thanks for the ‘sport coat’ advice the other day tim; I’ll work on that. (Is there a wrinkle free one I can roll up and carry in my briefcase?) ((that makes me think of some shiny mylar sort of fabric…Hmmmm. Calling our resident costumer, MiG.))

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  11. The idea of themes has often escaped me. In high school, we had a visit from an author (Oliver Butterworth who wrote the children’s book The Enormous Egg). He talked about writing and reading. He said “when you were young, you read for the plot but you don’t do that anymore; you read for the theme, character development, etc.”
    I thought pish posh, I still read for plot and can hardly identify a theme even if it’s glaringly obvious. Later, a college English professor who announced that I had little potential in her literature class supported that. It also means I’m not the most insightful contributor to a book club.
    I love to hear what others have gleaned, though.

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    1. Yes – I’m sure some of us can identify themes, but tend to listen to others’ thoughts and then react.

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    2. When I was young most of my reading was devoted to adventure stories. As I got older I developed a taste for good literature that went beyond my earlier adventure story reading. I don’t know if I would be a good student in a literature class. I am interested in the author’s point of view, the subject matter, and the historical content as well as a good plot and interesting characters. Perhaps I am missing some of the finer points of good literature.

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  12. I think one of my themes is curiosity. Hasn’t killed me yet, but I do sometimes get in trouble with wanting to know too much, or testing the limits of how far I can go in expressing myself…

    Gotta run – more later.

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  13. I’ve been pondering this question for some time, and after careful consideration I think a recurring theme for me is “Balance.” That’s what I strive for; haven’t accomplished it as yet, but I’m working on it. My natural instincts, and life-long pattern, are to get enthusiastic about something or another and dive in. Then I discover that I have neither the prerequisite skill, discipline or patience to go the distance. So I’m back to tim’s concept of “a mile wide, and and inch deep,” and trying to enjoy it. But somehow a little more depth seems like it would be a better balance.

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    1. Balance is certainly a good theme. I’m afraid unbalanced has, at times, been my theme. I guess I would also say that I do strive for balance just as you say, PJ.

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  14. THEME FOR ENGLISH B

    By Langston Hughes

    The instructor said,
    Go home and write
    a page tonight.
    And let that page come out of you—
    Then, it will be true.
    I wonder if it’s that simple?
    I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.
    I went to school there, then Durham, then here
    to this college on the hill above Harlem.
    I am the only colored student in my class.
    The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem
    through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas,
    Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y,
    the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator
    up to my room, sit down, and write this page:
    It’s not easy to know what is true for you or me
    at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I’m what
    I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you:
    hear you, hear me—we two—you, me, talk on this page.
    (I hear New York too.) Me—who?
    Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
    I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.
    I like a pipe for a Christmas present,
    or records—Bessie, bop, or Bach.
    I guess being colored doesn’t make me NOT like
    the same things other folks like who are other races.
    So will my page be colored that I write?
    Being me, it will not be white.
    But it will be
    a part of you, instructor.
    You are white—
    yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
    That’s American.
    Sometimes perhaps you don’t want to be a part of me.
    Nor do I often want to be a part of you.
    But we are, that’s true!
    As I learn from you,
    I guess you learn from me—
    although you’re older—and white—
    and somewhat more free.

    This is my page for English B.
    1951

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      1. Revere, for junk, like they traded Span for worse junk. We have removed any sign on interest, smile, personality or fun from the team.

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        1. Somehow, I can’t get my underwear in a bunch over professional athlete trades. But that’s just me.

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        2. Yeah, Revere had all of that, didn’t he? Interest, smile, personality, and Fun.

          Here is one of my favorite Revere moments:

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