Brubeck at 90

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'Take 5' by the Dave Brubeck Quartet is possibly one of the best know jazz pieces of all time. For many it reflects the hip West coast sound of fifties America and its success propelled Brubeck on to the international stage.

Paul Gambaccini travelled to the Connecticut home of the jazz legend to explore his music and career reflecting his war years, world famous Quartet, best known tunes and family. We hear about the Dave Brubeck Quartet classic line up featuring - drummer Joe Morello, bassist Eugene Wright and saxophonist Paul Desmond. The huge success of Desmond's composition "Take Five" was followed by many tunes played in Brubeck's unusual time signature best know of which - is 'Blue Rondo A La Turk'. What distinguishes Brubecks experiments in time is his innate sense of song and commitment to musical populism.

As we hear, in 'Brubeck at 90' these days when his health permits Dave enjoys playing with his musical sons Darius, Chris, Matthew and Danny. Happily as we discover he is still harvesting the highest awards his nation and his profession can offer, including the BBC Jazz Lifetime Achievement Award and most recently the Kennedy Center Honour in America alongside Bruce Springsteen, Robert Di Niro and Mel Brooks. A remarkable night as Brubeck rubbed shoulders with President Obama and got the surprise of his life as we hear in this revealing programme in the week Dave turns ninety.


Producer: John Sugar
A Sugar Production for BBC Radio 4.
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