Dave Brubeck was a legend, a master who was instrumental in the shaping of modern jazz. People talk a lot about his playing and “Take Five,” but let’s not forget that he was also an amazing composer. He constructed his pieces not just as tunes but as real compositions: architectural arrangements that were reminiscent of classical works. Even with his strong foundation in the very beginnings of jazz, his mind was always ahead, always reaching beyond the norm. If not for that, he wouldn’t have been able to compose “Blue Rondo à la Turk” and other classics on Time Out.
He also exuded this warmth in his heart that would pervade the room. I can’t even imagine Dave Brubeck with a frown. Whenever I was with Dave, I was thrilled to be around him, but his attitude was always that he was more thrilled to be around me. That’s the way he treated people. He was a great mentor and influenced so many musicians. We wouldn’t be who we are if it weren’t for Dave Brubeck.
Hancock is an Oscar- and Grammy-winning jazz musician
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