Sunday, 18 July 2010

Sunday Morning Coffee with Dave Brubeck

Good morning and welcome to another show, this week featuring the jazz great, Dave Brubeck.  A few months ago I knew Dave only for “Take Five” but I know now that there is so much more.

Let me know when you’ve got your coffee and I’ll get started.


We start with his most famous piece: even I knew this.

Take Five

I believe this was written by Brubeck’s long-term saxophonist, Paul Desmond, who plays a major part in this and many other pieces.

Brilliant.  Thank goodness I learned the lesson of really listening to music and not having it as a background.  Only by doing this have I started to appreciate jazz and other genres with which I had virtually no contact.


David Warren Brubeck was born in California in 1920 and so now in his 90th year I have found him.  His mother was a pianist but he never learned to read music, a failing which almost had him expelled from college when his professors discovered this missing skill.  His talent in other areas persuaded them to allow him to stay on.


In Your Own Sweet Way

Not that I would know but I read that this is one of the jazz standards composed by Brubeck.

No wonder this is a standard.  Smooth and moody.



We move on with this Hoagy Carmichael standard.

This is played with such delicacy and sophistication: a masterpiece.  On first hearing I was totally captured by Brubeck’s piano but the clarinet has such a haunting quality that it balances Brubeck’s solo.


In the mid–1950’s Brubeck stood up to racism.  He had brought an African-American into the group as bass player – Eugene Wright – but some venues asked him to use a white bassist.  Brubeck refused and cancelled.



Dziekuje (Thank You)

This is a brilliant tribute to Chopin.

Magnificent.  That’s all.


Half-way through the show already and I’m not even into my stride.  This could have been a very very long show but I know many of you have attention difficulties :)   !

Rewarm your coffee or get a top-up before the next part of the programme.



Kathy’s Waltz

Kathy must have been some girl! 



Three to Get Ready

It wouldn’t take me three to get ready if this was playing.

I love all the tracks here but this is one of my favourites. 


Koto Song

Paul Desmond is brilliant, as usual.  Paul died in 1977 from lung cancer and he left all royalties to “Take Five” to the American Red Cross.

Beauty lies therein.


Of the small amount of jazz which I have featured here and in my “Music in the Morning” series Brubeck’s music is the hardest to like: I could never have liked this if I hadn’t learned to listen.  Has only taken me most of my adult life to learn!


The end is here but we get there with a piece in two parts, the first part being 10mins and the ending 4m 41sec.

How atmospheric this is!

Things Ain’t What They Used to Be


Fantastic!  Emotion-charged!

There is enormous tension throughout and for much of it the baritone sax (Gerry Mulligan) and piano appear to be fighting with the resolution coming only in the last 30 secs or so of Part Two.



Well, that’s it for another week.  This was another surprise to me.  I hadn’t expected to enjoy this so much but putting the show together was magical.  I hope you enjoyed your coffee and the music.   Tune in again next week and thanks for listening.


  1. You're a-talkin' my language this week, Calum. Muso extraordinaire.

  2. just done a quick calculation and find that it is 45 years since I bought the album "Time Out" with Take5 on it....
    45 years!
    I think I need to go and lie down