23 de juliol, 2009

Dave Brubeck,
50 años de 'Time Out'

Dave Brubeck y Ashley Kahn (foto: Daniel Root).

El pasado martes, Nueva York rindió homenaje a los 50 años de uno de los discos más célebres de la historia del jazz, Time Out, de Dave Brubeck. El acto, organizado por el departamento de reediciones de Sony, Legacy, contó como maestro de ceremonias con Ashley Kahn, bien conocido del festival de Barcelona por sus apasionadas conferencias sobre Kind of Blue, A Love Supreme y la discográfica Impulse. Kahn, que en estos momentos está terminando su última obra, dedicada a los 70 años de otro sello mítico, Blue Note, contó también con la participación del historiador del jazz Ted Gioia, responsable asimismo de uno de los blogs jazzísticos de referencia.

He aquí una crónica de esa noche de homenaje al maestro Brubeck, firmada por el propio Ashley Kahn (thanks, Ashley).

Ted Gioia, Brubeck y Kahn (foto: Daniel Root).

Por Ashley Kahn

50 years ago – 1959 to be exact – there was an outpouring of timeless jazz recordings: John Coltrane recorded Giant Steps, Ornette Coleman hit the scene with The Shape of Jazz to Come, Duke Ellington won a Grammy for his soundtrack to Anatomy of a Murder, Charles Mingus waxed both Ah-Uhm and Blues and Roots, and Miles Davis put together not one – two timeless classics: Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain.

Dave Brubeck’s Time Out was part of that bumper crop – and proved to be the best-selling and to have the biggest impact of them all. It was an incredibly successful experiment in unusual time signatures inspired by a trip to places like Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan (sadly, can’t imagine him making that trip today.) Dave took those ideas and with his great quartet of Paul Desmond, Eugene Wright and Joe Morello, made history and sold millions of the album and its hit single Take Five. On Tuesday July 21, with the album on the verge of achieving double-platinum status, Dave Brubeck brought his quartet to the Apple Store in Soho, Manhattan and played for a crowd that packed the store’s second floor.

Dave Brubeck, el año 2005 en Barcelona (foto: Ricard Cugat).

I had the honor of being asked to MC the event, and opened by remarking that the hour would include an intriguing discussion with Brubeck, but would focus on swinging music. And it did: Brubeck performed three tunes from Time OutThree to Get Ready, Kathy’s Waltz (written by Brubeck for his daughter Catherine who attended the event!) and the ubiquitous Take Five – plus a slow 16-bar blues that was a showcase for the alto saxophonist Bobby Militello. Bassist Michael Moore and drummer Randy Jones also provided solid accompaniment and wonderful solos when called upon.

The discussion part of the evening included noted jazz historian Ted Gioia who joined Brubeck onstage; the two answered a number of questions focused on Time Out, its origins and enduring appeal. When asked how he felt playing tunes like Take Five and Blue Rondo a la Turk fifty years on, the maestro smiled and admitted, to much surprised laughter, “You know, I still get lost…”

The event was conceived by Legacy – Sony Music’s reissue department (Sony owns the Columbia catalog for which Brubeck recorded many albums from the ‘50s through the ‘70s) – and was coordinated with the Morrison Hotel photo gallery exhibition of famous studio photographs by Columbia Records photographer Don Hunstein, who also attended.