Most interesting fact about Brubeck: Sometime close to his graduation from Oberlin College one of Brubeck’s professors found out that he was unable to read music. Upon learning this, the school nearly restricted him from graduating, however, they were able to cut a deal and that was: They would let him graduate if he swore to never teach music to anyone – and so he went on to become one of the most influential and innovative musicians of all time. Tell me one person in history that ever graduated from college or university that could not read – what a genius and inspiration for us all!!!!!!
"Fujiyama" -- American jazz based on Japanese themes and tonality: In lesser hands this would be a recipe for disaster, but Brubeck's solo here is a thing of transcendent beauty.
From an album of time signature experiments came some of Dave's biggest hits. Lesser known, but my fave has always been the 3/4-4/4 switcheroos of "Three to Get Ready."
This is from the classic album "Time Out," the first million-selling album.
Kera Bolonik, Salon arts editor:
"St. Louis Blues"
This material from the seventies with Mulligan is all tremendous, and there is quite a bit of it out there on YouTube.
A flawless album in execution. The winding Desmond solo on the first track sets the tone for a reserved work of genius by Brubeck. A masterpiece.
According to the original album's liner notes: "Unsquare Dance, in 7/4 time, is a challenge to the foot-tappers, finger-snappers and hand-clappers. Deceitfully simple, it refuses to be squared. And the laugh you hear at the end is Joe Morello's guffaw of surprise and relief that we had managed to get through the difficult last chorus." This video, described by one YouTube commentator as "Ministry of Silly Walks with background music" is completely of its time and today looks so hokey you have to love it. RIP Dave.
Andrew Leonard, Salon staff writer:
The moment I heard Dave Brubeck had died, I went to YouTube to see if I could find my favorite track. The search was fruitless -- I'd forgotten the song's name, and the Brubeck riches of YouTube are so vast that you could get lost for days just listening to the master pianist.
Which is something I'm sure many of us are doing right now. It's one of the ways we memorialize dead musicians these days, by searching and sharing and linking, on Facebook and Twitter and everywhere else. So let's do it here at Salon too.
Here's the Koto Song" performed live in Germany in 1966. It is, as the first "top comment" on YouTube proclaims, "sex for your ears, plain and simple."