A coda for Dave Brubeck: Matt's Memo

Dave Brubeck.

I grew up in house where the record collection included a lot of Dave Brubeck. My father played his vinyl version of â??Take Fiveâ?? on the stereo. The music was remarkable for being approachable, unique and memorable.

During my high school years I nearly wore out Al Jarreauâ??s Live album listening to his vocal cover of â??Take Fiveâ?? and another Brubeck standard â??Blue Rondo a la Turkâ??. That musical foundation made the moment even more exciting in 1991 when I stood in Syracuseâ??s Clinton Square and heard Dave Brubeck bring the keys of the grand piano to life during his first of the three appearances at Jazz Fest.

He returned in the memorable year of 2002 when Ray Charles filled the Square beyond capacity. And, then came back again in 2007 as the 25th anniversary headliner on the campus of Onondaga Community College.

Jazz Fest founder Frank Malfitano was saddened by the loss of Brubeck tonight. He fondly recalled that first year in Clinton Square. â??Having him at the first fest in Clinton Square when his son Danny sat in on drums on Father's Day was something he always remembered and always commented on whenever we worked together, which was never often enough,â?? said Malfitano.

Dave Brubeck cherished his position as a musical leader. His ability to sustain his contribution over multiple generations ultimately is as noteworthy as his innovative years as a younger player. Several jazz prodigies from our own backyard have participated in his Brubeck institute in California including my nephew Jared. What a legacy to pass along.

Dave Brubeck was one whole note away from turning 92 when he died today. Frank Malfitano said, â??The world is a much sadder place today, but heaven just got itself one heckuva piano player, and one great gentleman.â??

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