Thursday, December 12, 2013

Artist of the Day: Dave Brubeck

It's been just over a year since legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck passed away, but his graceful playing, years ahead of its time with its "cool" jazz idiosyncrasies, will continue to live on and dominate my playlists for decades to come.  I consistently find myself immersed in Brubeck's prolific back catalogue come Christmas time, as his classic 1996 album, A Dave Brubeck Christmas, has become a personal holiday tradition of mine.  From the opening playfulness of "'Homecoming' Jingle Bells" to the contrasting somber "'Farewell' Jingle Bells" closing out the record, with additional amazing solos in "Winter Wonderland" and "The Christmas Song," I will forever wonder how A Dave Brubeck Christmas has bypassed becoming a December staple in everyone's yuletide household.

For further listening, there's always the classic Time Out from the 1959 incarnation of the Dave Brubeck Quartet, and I've always loved the 1953 live Jazz at Oberlin, which gives a diverse taste of Brubeck's illustrious career to follow, showcasing his proficiency in both cooler and more upbeat tunes.  Of course, diving headfirst into Brubeck's oeuvre can be rather intimidating.  With over 100 proper releases, deciding where to start can be a question of cosmic proportions, though I operate firmly under the belief that the man can do no wrong.  My five flawless Brubeck records are evidence enough, and there's still nothing like curling up with a blanket and a legend by the window on yet another romantic mid-December afternoon.

Listen to A Dave Brubeck Christmas
Official Site

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