An evaluation of the work of jazz pianist/composer Dave Brubeck


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An evaluation of the work of jazz pianist/composer Dave Brubeck
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xiii, 222 leaves : music ; 28 cm.
Zirpoli, Danny Ronald, 1945-
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Jazz musicians -- Biography -- United States   ( lcsh )
Pianists -- Biography -- United States   ( lcsh )
Composers -- Biography -- United States   ( lcsh )
Curriculum and Instruction thesis Ph. D
Dissertations, Academic -- Curriculum and Instruction -- UF
bibliography   ( marcgt )
individual biography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1990.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 215-218)
Statement of Responsibility:
by Danny Ronald Zirpoli.
General Note:
General Note:

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University of Florida
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Copyright 1990


Danny Ronald Zirpoli


This writer is greatly appreciative of the valuable

help given by many people. A very special thanks and

acknowledgement are extended to my chairman, mentor,

advisor, and friend, Dr. David Z. Kushner whose belief

in my ability gave me the confidence to see this project

to completion.

Gratitude is extended to my other committee members

Dr. S. Philip Kniseley, Professor John S. Kitts, Dr. Jeff

A. Hurt, and Dr. Forrest W. Parkay. Their help and

encouragement were most appreciated.

I would also like to thank Mrs. Robena Eng-Cornwell,

Associate University Librarian, University of Florida,

for her valuable assistance.

This study would have been difficult to complete

without the help of Mrs. Juliet Gerlin. She not only

provided valuable support and source materials but also

arranged for a personal interview with Dave Brubeck.

To my mother, Margaret Zirpoli, mother-in-law, Eileen

Cywinski, and father-in-law, John Cywinski, go my heartfelt

thanks. Their faith and confidence in me were unsurpassed.

I will forever be indebted to my wife for her help

and moral support during this time. She truly helped me

through my darkest hours.



LIST OF FIGURES ...................................





IV BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH........................


Early Influences ..........................
Darius Milhaud Influence..................
Compositional Approach
Polyrhythms and Polytonality.............
Influence of European Classical Composers
Integration of Classical and Jazz
Jazz Choral Compositions..................
Orchestral Genre--Elementals..............
Programmatic Inspiration--Keyboard Works..
Inspiration from other Countries
Keyboard Works..........................
Schools of Jazz--Influences...............
Audience/Performer Interaction............
Reciprocal Influence......................

VI BRUBECK AND THE CRITICS...................

Musical Criticisms .... ....................
Social Criticisms.........................


VIII CULTURAL AMBASSADOR .......................


















Elementary Student................ .......... 164
Advanced Student............................ 177


Research Question One: To What Extent has
Brubeck Contributed to the Development
of Jazz Piano?............................ 196
Research Question Two: To What Extent has
Brubeck been Influential in Promoting the
Cause of Jazz? ........................... 198
Research Question Three: What is the
Extent of Brubeck's Contribution as
far as Compositional Output is Concerned? 199
Research Question Four: What is the Extent
of Pedagogical/Instructional Value in the
Study and Analysis of Dave Brubeck's
Music? .................................. 201
Implications .............................. 202

GLOSSARY: DEFINITIONS............................. 204





REFERENCES........................................ 215

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...... ......................... 221


Figure No. Page

1 Gloria (measures 1-11).......................40
Reprinted by Permission (c) 1976 St. Francis
Shawnee Press, Inc. Music Co.

2 God's Love Made Visible (measures 1-5)......41
Reprinte-d by Permission (c) 1978 St. Francis
Shawnee Press, Inc. Music Co.

3 Mr. Fats (measures 39-54)...................46
Reprinted by Permission (c) 1980 St. Francis
Derry Music Co. Music Co.

4 It's a Raggy Waltz (measures 1-11)..........49
-c 1962 Derry Music Co.
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5 Rag (measures 13-25)........................50
(c) 1962 & 1963 Derry Music Co.
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6 Mr. Fats (measures 1-11).....................52
Reprinted by Permission (c) 1980 St. Francis
Derry Music Co. Music Co.

7 The Duke (measures 1-17).....................55
TET 1955 & 1956 Derry Music Co.
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8 Polytonal voicing...........................61

9 Polytonal chordal structures ................62

10 Polytonal chord structure...................63

11 Polytonal chord structure ...................65

12 Georgia on my Mind (measures 29-38).........66

13 Brandenburg Gate (measures 1-24).............69
(c) 1959 Derry Music Co.
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14 Fugue (measures 1-12)...................... 70
(c) 1962 & 1963 Derry Music Co.
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15 Pick Up Sticks (measures 1-11).............72
196I0, 1961 & 1962 Derry Music Co.
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16 Strange Meadowlark (measures 156-160)......73
(c) 1960 & 1962 Derry Music Co.
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17 Strange Meadowlark (measure 68)............74
(c) 1960 & 1962 Derry Music Co.
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18 Strange Meadowlark (measures 108-109).....76
(c) 1960 & 1962 Derry Music Co.
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19 In Your Own Sweet Way (measures 1-7).......77
T') 1955 & 1956 Derry Music Co.
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20 Blue Shadows in the Street.................78
Measures 1-1- T
(c) 1962 Derry Music Co.
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21 Dziekuje (measures 1-16)...................79
(c) 1959 Derry Music Co.
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22 Forty Days (measures 52-62)................84
Reprinted by Permission (c) 1968 St. Francis
Shawnee Press, Inc. Music Co.

23 Tone row................................... 86
(From The Gates of Justice, Section XII)

24 Oh, Come Let Us Sing (measures 87-106).....87
Reprinted by Permission (c) 1970) St. Francis
Shawnee Press, Inc. Music Co.

25 Strange Meadowlark (measures 1-2)..........90
(c) 1960 & 1962 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

26 Tritonis (measures 1-15)....................91
Reprinted by Permission (c) 1979 St. Francis
Derry Music Co. Music Co.

27 Cantiga Nova Swing (measures 1-13).........93
c) 1963 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

28 Castilian Blues (measures 1-6).............94
(c) 1962 & 19TT Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

29 Lamento (measures 33-42)...................95
(c) 1963 Derry Music Co.
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30 Lamento (measures 1-16).................... 96
c) 1963 Derry Music Co.
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31 The Golden Horn (measures 1-8).............97
(c) 1959 Derry Music Co.
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32 Blue Rondo a la Turk (measures 1-11).......99
(c 1960 & 1962 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

33 Nomad (measures 1-16)......................100
() 1959 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

34 Koto Song (measures 53-60).................103
Reprinted by Permission (c) 1964 St. Francis
Shawnee Press, Inc. Music Co.

35 The City is Crying (measures 1-13).........106
Reprinted by Permission (c) 1964 St. Francis
Shawnee Press, Inc. Music Co.

36 Southern Scene (measures 50-58)............107
(c) 1960, 1962, 1964 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

37 Dizz 's Dream (measures 1-9)...............108
(c) 1986 & 1987 Derry Music Co.
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38 Georgia on my Mind (measures 1-27).........109

39 Georgia on my Mind (1-17)................. .110

40 Georgia on my Mind (18-38).................111


41 Blue Rondo a la Turk (measures 1-11).......133
Tc-71960 & 1962 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

42 Standard twelve-bar blues pattern.......... 135

43 Modified version of twelve-bar.............136
blues pattern

44 Blue Rondo a la Turk (measures 79-90)......137
(c) 1960 & 1962 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

45 Blue Rondo a la Turk (measures 91-102).....138
(TF-1960 & 1962) Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

46 Take Five (measures 1-12)..................140
(c) 1960 & 1961 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

47 Kathy's Waltz (measures 1-13)..............141
(c) 1960, 1961, 1962 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

48 Kathy's Waltz (measures 34-58).............142
(c) 1960, 1961, 1962 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

49 Kathy's Waltz (measures 73-90).............144
(c) 1960, 1961, 1962 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

50 Everybody's Jumping (measures 1-18)........145
(c) 1960 & 1962 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

51 It's A Raggy Waltz (measures 1-12).........147
( 1962 Derry Music Co.
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52 Far More Blue (measures 1-16)..............149
T(c 1961 & 1962 Derry Music Co.
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53 Unsquare Dance (measures 1-18).............150
(c) 1961 & 1962 Derry Music Co.
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54 Unsquare Dance (measures 19-30)........152
(c) 1961 & 1962 Derry Music Co.
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55 Three's A Crowd (measures 1-18)........166
(c) 1962 & 1963 Derry Music Co.
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56 Countdown (measures 1-8)...............167
(c) 1962 & 1963
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57 I See Satie (measures 1-14)............168
TcT 1986 & 1987 Derry Music Co.
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58 Elana Joy (measures 1-3)...............170
(c) 1986 Derry Music Co.
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59 Elana Joy (measures 7-10)..............171
(c) 1986 Derry Music Co.
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60 Dizzy's Dream (measures 1-9)...........172
(c) 1986 & 1987 Derry Music co.
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61 How Does Your Garden Grow..............173
Measures 1-9)
(c) 1986 & 1987 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

62 Nomad (measures 37-46).................175
(c) 1959 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

63 Brandenburg Gate (measures 1-24).......176
(c) 1959 Derry Music co.
Reprinted by Permission

64 Golden Horn (measures 1-8).............178
(c) 1959 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

65 Golden Horn (measures 21-28)........... 179
(c) 1959 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

66 Rising Sun (measures 19-29)................180
(c) 1964 Derry Music Co.
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67 Bluette (measures 1-11).................... 182
(c) 1961 & 1962 Derry Music Co.
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68 Rising Sun (measures 1-8)..................183
(c) 1964 Derry Music Co.
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69 Georgia on my Mind (measures 19-28)........184

70 Fast Life (measures 112-118)...............185
Tc 1962 & 1963 Derry Music Co.
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71 Castilian Blues (measures 1-13)............186
(c) 1962 & 1963 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

72 Three To Get Ready (measures 45-59)........188
(c) 19U & 1962 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

73 Blue Rondo a la Turk (measures 1-11).......189
cTE 1960 & 1962 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

74 It's A Raggy Waltz (measures 1-8)..........190
(c) 1962 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

75 Wee No More (measures 1-18)...............192
(c) 1955 Derry Music Co.
Reprinted by Permission

76 The City is Crying (measures 1-13).........193
Reprinted by Permission (c) 1964 St. Francis
Shawnee Press, Inc. Music Co.

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Danny Ronald Zirpoli

May, 1990

Chairman: Dr. David Z. Kushner
Major Department: Instruction and Curriculum

The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the

work of jazz pianist/composer Dave Brubeck in order to

ascertain the extent of his contributions to the field of


The thrust of the research concentrated on areas

related to general biographical information; Brubeck's

meter/rhythm experiments; European classical influences:

cultural aspects, including sociological factors;

compositional output; pedagogical and instructional

values; and jazz ambassadorial contributions. Brubeck's

relationship with the critics was also probed.

Specific research questions included

1. To what extent did Brubeck contribute to the
development of jazz?

2. To what extent has Brubeck been influential
in promoting the cause of jazz?

3. What is the extent of Brubeck's contribution
as far as the quantity of music literature is

4. To what extent might Brubeck's music be utilized
in an educational setting?

From the findings it was evident that Brubeck

contributed to the field of jazz in a variety of ways.

He contributed to the development of jazz piano by the

systematic application of unusual meters, polyrhythms,

and polytonality. He expanded the concept of free

improvisation within the context of odd meters. Through

the integration of classical and jazz elements Brubeck

helped "pave the way" for other jazz musicians and create

new markets for jazz. He also promulgated the cause of

jazz and, in so doing, increased inter-cultural under-

standing and feelings of goodwill.

Although the focus of the study was on the piano

works, selected examples of other genre were also examined.

It was concluded that Brubeck's large-scale choral/jazz

compositions are a viable contribution to music literature.

Pedagogical value in Brubeck's piano compositions and

improvisations was evident. It was concluded that a study

of his music could benefit both the beginning and advanced

jazz student. Recommendations were made to include a study

of his music within a curriculum of jazz.



Jazz pianist-composer Dave Brubeck, often identified

as a representative of the West Coast school of jazz, has

maintained an intensely active musical career spanning

more than 50 years. His work has been divided equally

between composition and performance. Brubeck's efforts

as a composer have involved not only the medium of the

piano but also large-scale orchestral-choral jazz works.

A considerable amount of Brubeck's energy was devoted

to metrical and rhythmic experiments. Brubeck's employment

of unusual meters, such as 5/4, 6/4, 7/4, and polyrhythms

raises some important questions regarding the extent of

his influence.

The classic Brubeck quartet was extremely active on

the college concert circuit during the 1960s and 1970s.

The Brubeck Quartet also toured Eastern Europe and the

Middle East for the U.S. State Department. Furthermore,

in 1964, it was the first jazz group to perform at an

official White House function (Personal interview, 1989).

More recently, Brubeck's tours of the Soviet Union (1987

and 1989) brought jazz to many people who hitherto had

been deprived of it.

Presently, Brubeck is extremely active composing and

touring with a quartet that consists of Jack Six (bass),

Randy Jones (drums), Bill Smith (clarinet), and Brubeck

on piano. The Quartet's present itinerary includes both

the United States and Europe. Brubeck's 1989 tour included

Salzburg, Munich, Zurich, Basle, Berne, Brussels, and other

cities in Germany, Austria, and Holland. An upcoming tour

will include a concert with the London Symphony Orchestra

in a celebration of Brubeck's 70th birthday.

Brubeck has been the recipient of a number of awards.

He received the Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) Jazz

Pioneer Award, and he is a Duke Ellington Fellow at Yale

University. In 1985 he received a place in the Walk of

Honor at the Concord Pavilion, the Compostela Humanitarian

Award, and a Citation from the National Federation of

of Music Clubs. Brubeck was a recipient of the Connecticut

Music Educators Award and also received a Commendation of

Excellence from Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) for

his contribution to the jazz field. Brubeck received the

Connecticut Arts Award in 1987 and was honored in 1988

with the American Eagle Award presented by the National

Music Council. In addition to these awards, he also holds

four honorary doctorate degrees.

Problem Statement

Each year an increasing number of music departments

in colleges and universities around the country expand

their music programs to include jazz studies. A review

of the literature on jazz curricula revealed a definite

need for more jazz literature and pedagogical materials.

The same situation was evident regarding the elementary

or young jazz pupil. Thus, it seems that this study could

contribute significantly to the solution of some of the

practical problems faced by jazz educators.

The problem addressed in this study centered around

two research objectives:

1. A general evaluation of the work of Dave Brubeck.

2. An assessment of pedagogical/instructional value
in the study and analysis of Dave Brubeck's music.

Three questions were addressed regarding the first objective.

1. To what extent has Brubeck contributed to the
development of jazz piano?

2. To what extent has Brubeck been influential in
promoting the cause of jazz?

3. What is the extent of Brubeck's contribution
as far as compositional output is concerned?

In assessing Brubeck's contributions, an attempt must

be made to place him in historical perspective. For

example, to what extent is Brubeck a representative

of a particular school, such as the West Coast or Cool

school? Many contradictions appear in the literature;

furthermore, it was concluded, following an initial

review of the literature, that the question of Brubeck's

historical perspective has not been adequately addressed.

In most of the jazz history books and texts, the work of

Brubeck has been given only cursory treatment; in many

other writings on jazz he is not mentioned at all. This

is another reason why this study is being conducted.

The second research objective, evaluation of the

music for instructional worth, is divided into two


a. Value as material for undergraduate/graduate
jazz curricula.

b. Value as material for the elementary jazz

Brubeck's compositions actually fall into two

categories. The first is a body of literature which does

not rely on improvisation but is completely written out.

It incorporates, however, definite melodic, harmonic, and

rhythmic elements of jazz. The other category involves

music which includes transcribed improvisations. The

extent to which both these categories of music could be

applied to an educational setting will be assessed.

Analysis and discussion of Brubeck's works concentrate

mainly on the keyboard works rather than other genre such

as the orchestral-choral compositions. This provides for

a sharper focus.


In the present study, the researcher utilized standard

historical procedures in order to address the research

question. According to Hockett (1955), historical research

is based on procedures that consist of "the gathering of

data, the criticism of data; and the presentation of facts,

interpretations, and conclusions in readable form" (p. 9).

In conducting this research, past events were investigated,

a record of current events was maintained, and evidence

was evaluated in order to provide meaningful conclusions.

Adherence to accepted musicological research practices

were paramount. Valuable guides included A Guide to

Research in Music Education by Phelps (1986) and An

Introduction to Musicology by Haydon (1941).

Although musicology is divided into systematic and

historical categories, it should be kept in mind that the

two divisions are complementary; it is almost impossible

to maintain one without the other. According to Haydon

(1941), "the systematic and historical approaches

constitute the two axis in the frame of references in

relation to which musical intelligence is oriented"

(p. 10).

The researcher strove to meet three general


1. To be conscious of the existing problem.

2. To define the problem in such a way as
to render it susceptible of solution.

3. To seek the integration of this particular
problem with more general problems.

In order to achieve the objective of the research, a

thorough examination of primary and secondary sources was

undertaken. The examination of selected musical scores

formed an important base.

The preliminary vehicles for obtaining sources

included the following: Eric search (RIE, CIJE); the

Encyclopedia of Educational Research; Music Index; Jazz

Index; International Repertory of Music Literature (RILM);

Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature; Facts on File;

and Books in Print. Comprehensive Dissertation Index and

Dissertation Abstracts International were also consulted.

Included among specific bibliographic jazz sources

were The Literature of Jazz (Reisner, 1959), A Bibliography

of Jazz (Merriam, 1970), and The Literature of Jazz: A

Critical Guide (Kennington, 1971).

The primary and secondary sources utilized covered a

wide spectrum, including scores, recordings, concert programs,

newsletters, newspapers, and reviews. Jazz history/

literature books, as well as jazz dictionaries and

encyclopedias, were examined for pertinent information.

A personal interview with Dave Brubeck, which took

place on May 20, 1989, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, provided

valuable primary information. Both a structured and open-

ended format was utilized. Specific questions employed

within the interview related to areas such as biography,

influences, stylistic approach, and pedagogy. Information

obtained from the interview was integrated throughout the


Analysis of actual musical examples formed an important

part of the research strategy. Scores were obtained from

Columbia Pictures Publications (Derry Music Company),

Shawnee Press, and Hansen House. Musical analysis was used

as one of the primary tools in addressing the two main

research objectives:

1. A general evaluation of the work of Dave

2. The extent of pedagogical and instructional
value in the study and analysis of Dave
Brubeck's music.

Even though the focus of the study was on the piano

works, other genre, such as the large-scale choral jazz

works, were briefly discussed, in as much as they occupy

an important place in the spectrum of the composer's total

musical productivity.

In regard to general organization, the study consists

of ten chapters, bibliography, glossary, and three


In Chapter III, "Review of the Literature," a

foundation for the study is built by examining pertinent

literature related to the problem statement.

Chapter IV, "Biographical Sketch," contains

information related to the composer's life and career

development. Primary sources provide important insights

for this chapter.

In Chapter V, "Influences and Stylistic Approaches,"

the gamut of influences to which Brubeck was (and is)

subject to is examined. This includes not only

sociological factors, other jazz musicians, and education,

but also the influences of American and European classical

composers. A discussion of Brubeck's interaction with

various culture elements is included. Brubeck's stylistic

approaches to his music are integrated within this chapter.

Material from the personal interview provides pertinent

data for this chapter.

Chapter VI, "Brubeck and the Critics," contains

information pertaining to Brubeck's relationship with the

critics. Material is extracted from a sampling of criticisms

which provides further insight into Brubeck and his music.

In Chapter VII, "Metric and Rhythmic Experiments,"

selected compositions representative of Brubeck's early

experimental period are discussed. His employment of

meters and rhythmic procedures that were considered

unconventional in jazz are evaluated.

In Chapter VIII, "Cultural Ambassador," the researcher

examines the extent to which Brubeck promulgates and

promotes the cause of jazz and inter-cultural relations

through his concert tours.

In Chapter IX, "Pedagogical and Instructional Value,"

the extent to which Brubeck's work might be utilized in

an educational setting is addressed. Selected piano

compositions are examined for pedagogical worth. Material

and methods for the beginning and advanced jazz student

are considered.

In Chapter X, "Summary, Conclusions, and Implications,"

the researcher provides a recapitulation of the data found

in Chapters V through IX. Conclusions are drawn regarding

the extent of Brubeck's contributions, and recommendations

are made in the areas of musicological research and pedagogy.

The glossary provides a list of key terms and

definitions used in the study. Appendix A is a selected

list of Brubeck's original compositions for piano. Appendix

B is a compilation of other genre, such as the large-scale

choral jazz works. Appendix C is an alphabetical list of

recordings by the Dave Brubeck ensembles (trio, quartet,

octet, etc.).

In some instances, the literary approach within this

study may appear to be somewhat journalistic. This is

because of the subject area and nature of the source


materials. A greater part of the information was extracted

from magazine sources and reviews. It is hoped that

through the exploration of aesthetic elements, historical

data, and the examination of technical features, an

evaluation of the work of Dave Brubeck emerged, which

will, in turn, contribute to the advancement of knowledge

in the field of jazz.


The major portion of literature about Dave Brubeck

emanated mainly from periodical sources and, for the most

part, was in the form of either very brief profiles or

concert reviews. Representative journals and magazines

included Down Beat, Jazz Journal, Melody Maker, Jazz

Magazine, Variety, and the International Musician. Down

Beat and Jazz Journal contained the larger percentage of

pertinent articles. The literature found in books on jazz

(texts and general reading) was minimal.

Several encyclopedia sources provided information

on Brubeck. Among these were The New Grove Dictionary of

American Music (article by Richard Wang, 1986) and The

Encylopedia of Jazz in the Seventies (Feather and Gitler,

1970). A more specialized entry was found in 101 Best

Jazz Albums--A History of Jazz on Records (Lyons, 1980).

A series of three substantive articles by Ralph J.

Gleason were found in Down Beat (July, August, September,

1957). They contained information related to biography,

Brubeck's budding popularity, and his reactions to the


A very informative two-part report, About this Man

Brubeck, by Gene Lees, appeared in Down Beat in 1961.

It not only discussed the nature of criticisms directed

toward Brubeck but also provided excellent information

regarding some of his cultural influences.

Other magazines which provided lengthy reports on

Brubeck included Time magazine, Good Housekeeping, The

New York Times, and the New Yorker. It was the Time

article on November 8, 1954, that was extremely pro-

Brubeck and seemed to produce many negative feelings from

other musicians and critics. Michael Drury's, The Private

Life of Dave Brubeck (Good Housekeeping, February, 1958)

provided a considerable amount of biographical information

and was directed more toward Brubeck's family life. The

Beat Heard 'Round the World (The New York Times, June 15,

1958), written by Brubeck, contained much information

concerning his initial European and Middle Eastern tour.

In June, 1961, the New Yorker produced a very substantial

three-part profile on Brubeck which provided an excellent

history of the evolution of the Brubeck ensembles.

In regard to book sources, Hear Me Talking To Ya

(Shapiro and Hentoff, 1966) and The Great Jazz Pianists

(Lyons, 1983) yielded useful information. The interview

by Lyons, in particular, was fairly comprehensive and was

divided equally between biographical information and style


The Dave Brubeck Quartet Newsletter, published

several times a year, was extremely valuable in that it

provided many first hand accounts. It maintained a

constant up-date of Brubeck's itinerary and travel


By the late 1950s, Brubeck had formed his "classic"

Quartet and had begun not only his controversial

experiments with meter and rhythm but also his series

of college concert tours that, in turn, brought his

unorthodox approach to many listeners, including the

critics. A large portion of the literature from these

years (1956-1967) was extremely negative. Critics and

reviewers who addressed these issues included Hentoff

(1955), Mehegan (1957), and Williams (1961).

Some of the literature during the earlier years

also implicated the existence of negative feelings toward

Brubeck from other musicians. Through his college concert

tours Brubeck was finding not only public recognition but

also a fair degree of financial success. Many other jazz

musicians were not getting much exposure or lucrative

"gig" opportunities; consequently, resentment often ran

high. One particular incident was related by J. Collier.

What he (Ornette Coleman) did instead was
drop out of public sight. The cause,
apparently, was a gig he played at the Jazz
Gallery, a club opened by the Terminis in

Greenwich Village to capitalize on the new
jazz wave. Coleman was getting something
like S1200 a week for his group, playing
to a packed house each time. He discovered
that Dave Brubeck was getting something
like $4,000 a week at the same club and
not drawing as well as Coleman had done.
(Collier, 1978, p. 469)

Brubeck's academic approach to jazz was influential

in promoting resentment from many other jazz musicians;

moreover, many of these musicians were, for the most part,

unschooled. Brubeck discovered that by presenting his

music in semi-academic fashion he could appeal to the

college audience. Davis, in his Writings in Jazz, stated

Dave Brubeck made an important move when he
began appearing on college campuses through-
out the country. Jazz had been popular
among college audiences before this, but
beginning with Brubeck, colleges and
universities grew to be the largest market
for jazz in the United States. (Davis, 1985,
p. 116)

Shortly after his first successful college date at

Oberlin College, Ohio, Brubeck made a series of records

that appealed to the college and university markets. From

the periodical literature (Gleason, August 8, 1957; Rice,

June 3, 1961), it appeared that his success in these

endeavors was one of the first major breakthroughs for

record companies into the college market since the 1920s.

Although Brubeck was criticized by many of the black

musicians, some of the literature from the 1960s dealt

with his use of a racially integrated group (Gleason,

1960). On one particular occasion, controversy resulted

in the cancellation of a twenty-five day tour of southern

colleges and universities which, in turn, cost the Quartet

an estimated $40,000 in guarantees (Gleason, 1960).

Following the cancellations, Brubeck made an appeal to

southern jazz fans "to cooperate in helping us demonstrate

that jazz music is one of the best aspects of American

democracy" (Gleason, 1960, p. 13).

Since the 1960s, a large proportion of the periodical

literature dealt with the various constellations of

musicians with whom Brubeck has worked (Ramsey, 1972;

Cooper, 1974; Clark, 1974). Throughout the 1970s, Brubeck

toured and recorded with many different musicians, including

Gerry Mulligan, Allen Dawson, and Jack Six. He actually

organized several new quartets that at various times

included one or more of his sons (Feather, 1976).

Since the late 1950s, Brubeck has been active

composing various large-scale works. These have included

ballets, oratorios, and cantatas. Most of the literature

regarding these works was in the form of reviews. Reactions

to Brubeck's large-scale jazz forms utilizing religious

themes were mixed. For the most part, the literature was

very superficial with little attempt to analyze the music

or discuss any historical implications.

Very little of the literature dealt with Brubeck's

classical influence. When this issue was addressed, it

was very superficial; no attempt was made to analyze or

synthesize. Case and Britt (1978) stated that "Brubeck

imported many classical devices into jazz, especially

atonality, fugue, and counterpoint. Bach, Beethoven,

and Chopin borrowings can be found throughout his work

and his touch is closer to the classical concert hall

than the jazz club" (p. 40).

One important research question concerns the extent

to which any pedagogical/instructional value exists in

the study and analysis of Brubeck's music. As implied

earlier, there is an urgent need for more source materials

in the jazz curriculum. This applies not only to the

college music student but also to the elementary level

jazz student. In surveying Brubeck's piano music we can

find examples that would be applicable to both categories.

Literature that made reference to any educational value

in Brubeck's music was, to be sure, minimal. In one

article that appeared in Keyboard Magazine, suggestions

on polyrhythmic playing were included, along with a few

examples of Brubeck's polytonal voicings (Laverne, 1987).

The review of the literature provided the researcher

with a relatively good base for the study. Areas that

were targeted for the review included general biographical


information; Brubeck's meter/rhythm experiments; cultural

aspects, including sociological factors; compositional

output; European classical influences; pedagogical values;

and "jazz ambassadorial" contributions. All of these

categories needed to be taken into consideration in order

to produce a sound evaluation of the work of Dave Brubeck.

To this extent, a focus was achieved through considerable

generalization, and resulted, hopefully, in a contribution

to the field of knowledge.


David Warren Brubeck was born in Concord, California,

on December 6, 1920. He was the third son of Howard

"Peter" Brubeck, a cattle rancher, and Elizabeth Ivey

Brubeck, an accomplished classical pianist, choir director,

and music teacher (Personal interview, 1989). Both of

Brubeck's brothers were musicians; Henry Brubeck, who was

eleven years older than Dave, studied the violin, while

Howard, just four years Dave's senior, performed on the

string bass. It was Howard who contributed significantly

to Dave's career by transcribing many of his compositions

and improvisations (Personal interview, 1989).

As an infant Dave Brubeck was exposed to a variety

of classical music. Actually, he felt that this exposure

even preceded infancy; he related that "she [his mother]

believed in prenatal influence, so she practiced through

all her pregnancies. When we were born, we were all put

near the piano to listen to her practicing. I heard Chopin,

Liszt, Mozart, and Bach from infancy" (Lyons, 1983, p. 104).

At the age of four, Brubeck began piano lessons with

his mother. When he was about five, the lessons ceased

for six months because his mother went to Europe in order

to study piano with the renowned Tobias Matthay (Lyons,

1983). Upon her return, young Brubeck resumed his music

studies; however, he said that "she didn't force me to

play serious music, but she gave me a lot of theory, ear

training, and harmony" (Gleason, August 8, 1957, p. 17).

When he was eight or nine years old, Brubeck began

to study the cello. Although he felt little kinship with

this instrument, it did provide the opportunity for his

first experience with chamber music (Personal interview,

1989). A family quartet was subsequently organized with

his mother on piano, his brother Henry on violin, and

his brother Howard on string bass (Race, 1961). In

regard to his own reluctant role as cellist in the

ensemble, Brubeck commented

I was terrible. I started on a three-quarter
cello when I was eight or nine years old and
fought with my mother and elder brothers every
time I picked the thing up. We had one
brother that played violin very well, that
was Henry; then Howard played string bass
for this quartet, my mother played piano and
I was forced to play cello, and the sessions
usually ended up with everybody rapping me
with violin bows and everything else, so I
began to hate the instrument, because they
were all much older than I. (Race, 1961,
p. 3)

In 1931, Brubeck and family moved from Concord to

lone, California, where his father managed a 45,000 acre

ranch. It was during the lone years that the young

Brubeck began to make public appearances as a pop pianist.

His first band experiences were with a local laundryman

who was the leader of a combo that played for Saturday

night dances. The country-oriented band played not only

in lone but also in such surrounding communities as

Fiddletown, Sheep Ranch, Angels Camp, Grizzly Flats,

Copperpolis, and Volcano (Rice, 1961). According to Rice

(1961), Brubeck was paid $8.00 for a work night that

lasted from 9:00 until 12:00 a.m. and then, after a one

hour break for supper, from 1:00 until 4:00 a.m. in the

morning. This early Western rural background probably

provided the impetus for some of Brubeck's later piano

compositions such as Reminiscences of the Cattle Country

and Centennial Suite.

It seemed logical that Brubeck would follow in his

father's footsteps and become a rancher. In response to

his mother's attempt to encourage him to seek a music

career, Brubeck quipped "Ma, you've got two musicians;

I want to be a cattleman" (Time, 1954, p. 73). In 1937,

at the age of seventeen, Brubeck entered the University

of the Pacific in Stockton, California, in order to study

veterinary medicine. Although his original intention was

to return to his father's ranch following graduation,

Brubeck changed his major to music during his second year

at the University (Rice, 1961). According to Rice (1961),

Brubeck found concentration on zoology particularly

difficult because his classroom faced the music department.

Rice related

The noises that came in through the windows
from the conservatory held far more interest
for Brubeck than any possible discussion of
frogs' ganglia--a fact that did not escape
the notice of his professor. One spring day,
while Brubeck was dreamily beating an accom-
paniment with his foot to some snatch of
music from across the lawn, the professor
broke off his lecture in mid-sentence,
pointed out the window, and said, "Brubeck,
why don't you just go over there next year?"
(Rice, 1961, p. 60/62)

During his student days at the College of the Pacific,

Brubeck was introduced by a friend, Harold Meeske, to a

young sophomore named Iola Marie Whitlock; Miss Whitlock

eventually became Brubeck's wife. Both lola and Meeske

became two very important influences in Brubeck's life

and career decisions. lola, an aspiring actress and

writer, was also the co-director of a weekly radio show

at the University of the Pacific. Brubeck gained

considerable early experience as a jazz pianist by making

regular appearances on this show. One interesting

anecdote related how, on one particular occasion, Brubeck

stomped his feet so hard as he performed that the noise

almost drowned out the music, whereupon, Iola made him

take off his shoes (Time, 1954).

Brubeck graduated from the University of the Pacific

in 1942 and immediately entered into military service.

Initially, he was assigned to the post at Camp Haan, in

Southern California. During his 18-month stay at Haan,

Brubeck not only played piano with the band but also

began writing small combo arrangements (Gleason, August

8, 1957). Because of the European war, Brubeck, together

with fellow band members, received new orders and was

transferred to the infantry. He was sent at once to

Camp Howze, Texas, for basic training with a new regiment.

Regarding this brief but intense training period, Rice

(1961) related

On one characteristic night, Brubeck remembers,
he was sleeping hard after a twenty-five-mile
hike when he was shaken awake by a lieutenant,
hustled into a jeep, and driven to a remote
field where some unit or other was crawling
under live ammunition. After several weeks
of this, the musicians were hurried up to
Boston, put on a transport sailing for Liverpool,
transferred on the Liverpool dock into a sealed
train headed for a Southhampton dock, sent
across the Channel, and carried in another
train to a replacement center near Metz, in
eastern France--all in a matter of ten days.
(p. 64)

Despite the effort to ready Brubeck for combat, he

never did any fighting. Brubeck missed going to the front

by a matter of minutes by volunteering to serve as a

pianist during a Red Cross show (Gleason, August 8, 1957).

He was subsequently heard by the area commandant and

assigned the leadership of a new band that was sent into

nearby combat areas to play for the frontline troops.

Brubeck's experience with this new ensemble was more

productive and satisfying compared to his situation at

Camp Haan, due to the fact that he had the opportunity

to arrange, compose, and lead (Gleason, August 8, 1957).

Concerning the reception of his compositions, Brubeck

said, "I had only one guy go back to the front rather

than play them! He couldn't see it at all" (Gleason,

August 8, 1957, p. 19). After the German capitulation,

Brubeck traveled with various USO tours throughout France

and Germany until his discharge in 1946.

Upon leaving military service, Brubeck enrolled

at Mills College in Oakland, California, where he began

studying composition with Darius Milhaud (1892-1974).

According to Gleason (1957), Brubeck had already

established contact with Milhaud prior to entering the

service. As will be noted later, Milhaud exerted a

profound influence on Brubeck. In fact, Brubeck's oldest

son, Darius, who was born June 14, 1947 in San Francisco,

was named after the French composer.

While at Mills College, Brubeck played various local

engagements in and around the San Francisco area. He made

fairly regular appearances at the Geary Cellar, a small

club in the theatre district of San Francisco. Although

Brubeck's combo at this club consisted mainly of Norman

Bates on bass, Frances Lynne (later with Gene Krupa and

Charlie Barnet) on vocals, and Darryl Cutler on tenor

saxophone and cocktail drums, Paul Desmond began to sit

in with the group regularly; in fact, the Geary Cellar

became an important setting for visiting musicians. Jack

Egan, who was an advance man for many bands in San

Francisco, wrote an article about Brubeck's engagement

at the Geary Cellar, becoming the first to mention Brubeck

in a national publication (Gleason, August 8, 1957).

During this time Brubeck organized an experimental

group, the Jazz Workshop Ensemble. Its main function was

to play the pieces that had been written as classroom

exercises. Five members of this group, including Brubeck,

were in Milhaud's class--Bill Smith, Dave Van Kriedt, Dick

Collings, and Jack Weeks. Originally, the ensemble was

primarily a rehearsal band; however, shortly after its

formation, Milhaud set up a concert at Mills College

(Gleason, August 8, 1957). From there, the ensemble went

to the College of the Pacific to perform. Sometime after

the initial performances but before the first recording,

the Jazz Workshop Ensemble became known as the Octet (Wang,

1986). In the spring of 1949, the Octet was presented in

a concert at the Marines Memorial Theatre in San Francisco

by Ray Gorham. A local disc jockey, Jimmy Lyons, heard

the band, and with the help of KNBC instigated the birth

of a new radio jazz show, The Lyons' ~--, which would

utilize a trio led by Brubeck; the endeavor met with much

success (Gleason, August 8, 1957). In addition to the

radio show, Brubeck also began teaching a course in jazz

history through the University of California extension


Although Brubeck started to use a trio, which turned

out to be the actual rhythm section of the Octet, he had

hopes of reuniting the original Octet. Brubeck stated

But I couldn't get work for the octet, so
I went out with the rhythm section as a
trio, hoping that as we got better known
I could add everybody back. After a while
I brought Paul back, but the public didn't
go for the octet. (Woolley, 1978, p. 37)

Brubeck's trio began its first steady commercial

engagement at the Burma Lounge in Oakland, California,

in the fall of 1949, where they stayed until April, 1950

Gleason, August 8, 1957). The trio began recording for

trombonist Jack Sheedy's label, Coronet, in 1950 (Gleason,

August 8, 1957). Actually, well-known record companies

showed little interest in Brubeck despite his many

submissions; in any event, two music promoters, Sol and

Max Weiss, formed a partnership with Brubeck and created

Fantasy Records. The first Fantasy 78-rpms in 1949 and

1950 included Blue Moon, Tea for Two, The Way You Look

Tonight, and Love Walked In (Feather, 1966). Concerning

his rejection by existing record companies and the creation

of Fantasy, Brubeck commented that "my first record--with

Fantasy--was made with my own money. Nobody would record

me. And then I read somewhere that I've never paid my

dues. I wish I knew who'd paid more" (Lees, 1961,

p. 23).

In August, 1950, the trio made its first appearance

outside of Oakland at Salt Lake City and then returned to

the Black Hawk in San Francisco where the original Octet

had made several appearances (Gleason, August 8, 1957).

The early Brubeck trio did undergo some personnel changes;

moreover, double bass player Jack Weeks was replaced by

Norman Bates, who, in turn, was later superseded by Ron

Crotty. The final Dave Brubeck Trio, prior to the

formation of a quartet, consisted of Dave Brubeck, Cal

Tjader (drummer-vibraphonist), and Ron Crotty (double bass).

It was disbanded in the spring of 1951, but not without

first winning both the Downbeat and Metronome Awards for

Best New Instrumental Group (Personal interview, 1989).

Before Brubeck and Paul Desmond solidified their

relationship with the creation of the Quartet, Brubeck

accepted one more trio booking--a three-month stand at a

Honolulu club in Hawaii. This trip, however, proved to

be disastrous due to a near fatal swimming accident which

incapacitated Brubeck for several months. He had been

spending the day at Waikiki Beach with his family--by

this time he had his second son, Chris--when, after

diving, he dislocated two of the vertebrae in his neck

and destroyed the cartilage between them (Rice, 1961).

According to Rice, Brubeck, from his bed in the Honolulu

hospital, wrote to Desmond and proposed the formation of

a quartet; in addition, he also charged Desmond with the

mission of finding a rhythm section and employment for

the group, if possible. Upon his return to California,

in June of 1951, Brubeck found himself back at the Black

Hawk making his debut with the newly formed Dave Brubeck

Quartet (Rice, 1961).

Despite several interruptions, the Brubeck-Desmond

collaboration actually lasted for nearly 30 years. This

new Quartet, however, would become the strongest vehicle

to cement the Brubeck-Desmond bond which would, in turn,

become a significant factor in catapulting Brubeck to

national attention. Even though the new Quartet performed

at the Black Hawk for only three months, it was long

enough to enable the group to develop a repertoire and

prepare for leaving the confines of San Francisco and

the West Coast.

Paul Desmond evidently looked forward to the prospect

of extensive traveling. Regarding the unpredictable

element of the road, he related

One thing I dig about traveling is the
alternation between luxury and squalor.
One minute it's all steak and Roquefort
dressing and the Diners' Club, and six
hours later you're pathetically grateful
that there's a machine with peanut-butter
sandwiches in it in some gas station.
It keeps you focused on the true values
of life, like what luxuries a good meal
and a comfortable bed really are. (Rice
1961, p. 77)

Brubeck, being very much a family-oriented man, would

try to take his family with him as much as was practically

possible; in fact, the first trip on which he took his

wife and boys was fairly extensive and included such cities

as Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, New York, Boston, and

Chicago (Rice, 1961).

Isolation from the family was a factor that had to be

dealt with by many musicians; Brubeck was no exception.

He related an incident about a musician whom he knew who

quit the jazz world because he felt he was away from this

family too much. This musician took a regular nine-to-

five job and six months later confided to Brubeck, "I

should have listened to you. You know when I see my kids

now? At dinnertime and that's all" (Drury, 1958, p. 209).

It appears that while Brubeck was at home, he fitted his

work into the family's schedule rather than the other way


By 1954, Brubeck was contemplating how to liberate

his Quartet from the night club circuit; moreover, he had

a strong feeling that his music was not being properly

attended by patrons who did enjoy the Quartet. When

fellow musicians confided in Brubeck that they could not

find work, he promptly responded, "You gotta create an

environment to work!" (Personal interview, 1989). This

is exactly what Brubeck did. Feeling that the college

audience had been virtually untapped as far as jazz was

concerned, he set into motion plans to concertize on

college campuses. The earlier booking of his Octet at

several campuses might have provided the impetus for this

radical idea. Needless to say, Brubeck, at the time, did

not realize how influential this concept would be.

The success of his college concert tours was immense.

On the heels of the success of the early Quartet concerts,

Brubeck produced several recordings (Fantasy label) that

appealed to the college and university markets. These

included Jazz at Oberlin and Jazz at the College of the

Pacific. Following these releases, Brubeck was approached

by other record companies in an attempt to persuade him

to depart from Fantasy. One company offered as high as

$5,000 an album, while, according to Gleason (August 8,

1957), another offered guarantees of concerts totaling

$30,000. Finally, Brubeck signed a contract with

Columbia Records (1954). In return for his release from

his Fantasy commitments, Sol and Max Weiss insisted that

Brubeck continue to make one record a year for Fantasy--

an obligation he honored (Rice, 1961). His first two

albums for Columbia were Jazz Goes to College and Brubeck

at Storyville.

In 1956, Doe Dodge, who had been the group's drummer

for three years, returned to San Francisco and was replaced

by Joe Morello. According to Harry Frost, "Brubeck traded

in his Dodge for a Jaguar" (Frost, 1963, p. 14). Actually,

it was Desmond's suggestion to hire Morello, who had just

finished playing at the Hickory House, in New York, as a

member of Marian McPartland's trio (Rice, 1961).

From 1958 on, Brubeck began to travel extensively with

the Quartet. Between February and May of 1958, the group

performed more than 70 concerts in such countries as

Germany, Holland, Belgium, Turkey, and India. The Quartet's

Eastern tours were the result of a U.S. Cultural Exchange

program. Brubeck's travels in the early 1960s resulted in

the release of a series of albums that attempted to reflect

Brubeck's impressions of these various countries; these

included Jazz Impressions of Japan, and Brandenburg Gate


During the 1960s, Brubeck came under considerable

attack because he had a racially integrated group.

Moreover, at one point, many concerts had to be cancelled

because of the controversy. Throughout, Brubeck maintained

a positive attitude; he said, "I know the students would

like to have us play. It's just an unfortunate thing

that will eventually resolve itself" (The D.B.Q. Newsletter,

1989, p. 4). Despite this setback, the Quartet was very

active touring and recording during the early and middle


The next major turning point for Brubeck came in 1967

with the dissolution of the Quartet. Brubeck related

I was ready for a change. I gave the guys
a year's notice, but a lot of people thought
it was a rumor until it happened. Paul and
I kept playing together during that time.
I wanted to write and be home more. (Lyons,
1983, p. 109)

Although Brubeck began to devote more time to

composition, he still remained active as a performer.

Throughout the 1970s, he toured and recorded with a variety

of musicians, including the saxophonist Gerry Mulligan.

As far as composition was concerned, Brubeck turned

to a totally new genre--large-scale jazz choral works that

utilized religious themes. An oratorio, The Light in the

Wilderness (1968), and a cantata, The Gates of Justice

(1969), were composed within two years of the Quartet's


During the 1970s, Brubeck performed with various

combinations that included one or more of his sons.

In 1972, he regrouped his old trio and joined forces with

the Darius Brubeck Ensemble, a contemporary jazz group

that was led by his oldest son. This association, which

eventually became known as Two Generations of Brubeck,

devoted many tours to college campuses where the elder

Brubeck had taken his jazz in the 1950s. In regard to

the Brubeck family connection, Leonard Feather commented

The closeness of the Brubeck family is
manifested in many ways: a high point
of the first Newport Jazz Festival/West
in Los Angeles will be the concert "Two
Generations of Brubeck." It might well
be entitled "My Three Sons." Pianist
Darius Brubeck, 25, has led his own
avant-garde ensemble since 1969. Danny
Brubeck, 18, will play drums with the
group, and 21-year-old Chris Brubeck,
leaving his regular rock combo home,
will guest star as trombonist with
Darius. (Feather, 1976, p. 6)

An important concert took place in May, 1972, when

Brubeck appeared at Carnegie Hall with Paul Desmond, Gerry

Mulligan, and the Darius Brubeck Ensemble (Ramsey, 1972).

In 1974, both Desmond and Mulligan joined Two Generations

of Brubeck for a concert at New York's Lincoln Center

(Cooper, 1974).

By the middle 1970s, Brubeck had solidified the New

Brubeck Quartet that consisted of his sons Chris, Darius,

Danny, and himself; this ensemble remained together until

1979, at which time Chris stayed with his father and,

with the addition of clarinetist Bill Smith and drummer

Randy Jones, became an integral part of a new Brubeck

quartet. Regarding the changing of personnel and the

dissolution of the family ensemble [New Brubeck Quartet],

Brubeck commented that "in my groups, people can come and

go as they please. I think I've only actually let one

person go over all the years" (Burger, 1986, p. 18).

From the early to the mid-1960s, Brubeck maintained

a frenetic performing schedule that included his second

White House appearance, many recording sessions, and more

than 100 concerts a year. Brubeck evidently found the

new traveling routine considerably easier than it had

been in the old days. Regarding his first professional

engagement in 1941, he said, "We played for our suppers

and slept in an attic dormitory over the dance hall. The

road has gotten easier over the years since then. My wife

can travel with me now, and the jobs are more interesting"

(Burger, 1986, p. 18).

In 1987, Brubeck completed a 13-performance tour of

the Soviet Union which had begun in Moscow. He had

formulated plans to play in Russia earlier in his career

but had met with opposition due to strained relations

between the Soviet Union and the United States (Dahlburg,

1987). According to Dahlburg (1987), Brubeck said that

"to come to the Soviet Union and perform with my Quartet--

that's the fulfillment of a dream" (p. 2).

In May of 1988, the President and Mrs. Reagan invited

the Brubeck Quartet to perform at the reciprocal White

House State Dinner honoring Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev

(The D.B.Q. Newsletter, 1988). This was, indeed, eventful

for Brubeck because it was followed by an invitation to

return to Moscow. The return to the Soviet Union in the

following June was further enhanced by the reunion of

Brubeck and his former bassist Eugene Wright. This

reunion marked the Dave Brubeck Quartet's 30th anniversary

of their 1958 tour.

Brubeck's unrelenting concert, recording, and

composing schedule came to an abrupt halt on February 7,

1989, at the Yale Medical Center in New Haven, Connecticut;

he underwent a triple by-pass operation. According to

Brubeck, "it was an operation which could have happened

ten years ago, but, with my commitments to concerts always

on the horizon, it was difficult to find the right time

to have it done" (The D.B.Q. Newsletter, 1989, p. 2).

In December 1988, the operation could not be postponed

any longer.

Throughout the recovery period, Brubeck's optimism

was evident; he remarked, "All I'm lacking now is a full

head of steam, but my strength increases steadily each

day; I have much to be thankful for" (The D.B.Q.

Newsletter, 1989, p. 2). One of Brubeck's greatest

concerns during this time was his loss of piano technique.

He said

I couldn't believe how much technique I lost .
far more than at other periods of my life, such
as WWII, when I was in the army and away from a
piano for months at a time. I started
slowly, a few minutes at a time several times
a day, playing the scales, exercises and arpeggios
that are the foundation for every keyboard player.
Gradually, the old fingers are learning to respond
to the signals from the brain, and I think I'll
be ready on April 9. (The D.B.O. Newsletter, 1989,
p. 1)

Brubeck's first concerts following his surgery took

place on April 9 and 10, 1989 in Norwalk, Connecticut.

He appeared with the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra along with

his son, Mathew, on cello, Bill Smith, Randy Jones, and

Jack Six. Jack Six, who had replaced Chris Brubeck, had

toured and recorded with the Dave Brubeck Trio frequently

during the 1970s.

Since these Connecticut concerts, Brubeck has been

extremely active performing and composing. Currently, he

is working on a chamber music suite that he hopes will

premiere early in 1990 and a choral work based on Gregorian

chants. Prior to his surgery, a choral setting of Psalm

30 was completed and will soon be published (The D.B.Q.

Newsletter, 1989). Besides Quartet performances within

the United States, Brubeck also hopes to return to the

Soviet Union; optimistically, he said, "we're going back

to Russia next summer. We'll be playing at Gorky

Park. They've asked me to come this summer, and

I said I'll go next summer, and they said fine, but the

contract isn't signed. I'd love to go back to

Russia" (Personal interview, 1989).


In order to produce a valid assessment of Dave

Brubeck's contribution to the field of jazz, many factors

must be taken into consideration. Brubeck was subject to

a wide spectrum of influences that helped to shape his

approach to composition and performance. Sociological

factors, influences of American and European composers,

jazz musicians, education, and various cultural interactions

will be explored in the present chapter. The objective is

to gain more insight into Brubeck and his art. Both

musical and non-musical factors will be addressed.

Early Influences

Brubeck credited his mother with providing his

earliest influence. From infancy he was exposed to a

variety of classical music, mainly as a result of listening

to his mother practice the piano. His mother became his

first music teacher and provided the young Brubeck with

instruction in ear training and theory. This laid

important ground work for the acquisition of jazz skills.

According to Brubeck, his mother did not pressure him to

play classical music (Gleason, August 8, 1957). One reason

for this was, most likely, Brubeck's eye problem. He


I wasn't a good student anyway because I
had a lot of trouble with my eyes. One
eye was crossed, pulled all the way over
to the side. I wore glasses from the
age of two, and this problem discouraged
me from reading music. I only use one
eye most of the time now, although they
don't look crossed any more. (Lyons,
1983, p. 5)

Shortly following the onset of his piano lessons,

Brubeck was befriended by another young boy, Bob Skinner,

who was to become an early musical influence. According

to Gleason (1957), their musical collaboration began when

Brubeck was about six years old and resulted in the

creation of a tap-dance-ukulele-piano team. Brubeck

remarked, "We were gigging! Lions Clubs and socials.

We could be hired for as little as getting us out of

school to five dollars apiece!" (Gleason, August 8, 1957,

p. 18). Some years later, Skinner would be extremely

influential by exposing Brubeck to jazz, via records, and

providing some of the jazz pianist's earliest professional


Brubeck's first experience with chamber music came

when he was about eight or nine years old; he played the

cello in the family quartet. Although this was not a

pleasant experience for Brubeck, it did expose him to

string writing.

After the family moved to the ranch in lone, Brubeck

could not help but be surrounded by a strong rural

influence. According to an article in Time (1954), the

Brubecks, along with the cowhands, would have many evening

gatherings that resulted in the singing and playing of

western songs. Many times, Brubeck and father, who played

harmonica, would join forces and run through "every cowboy

tune that they could think of" (Time, 1954, p. 73). During

this time the younger Brubeck was befriended equally by

both Mexican and Indian cowboys (MaCray, 1978). In

connection with this and Brubeck's Christmas choral work,

La Fiesta de la Posada, Brubeck related

People have asked me how could I write the
Mexican Christmas piece we are doing tonight,
and from where I get my influences. My
father was a cattleman, and lived and worked
with Mexican and Indian cowboys. We always
had cattlemen at the dinner table. People
were singing all the time. I have toured
Mexico six times and have always enjoyed
listening to Mexican folk music. There are
many Spanish influences in my musical back-
ground, so to write the Mexican work is not
unusual, but rather predictable. (McCray,
1978, p. 12)

Figure 1 exemplifies a typical Brubeck approach to hemiola.

The score also calls for the employment of Latin American
percussion instruments. God's Love Made Visible from La

Fiesta de la Posada also uses Latin American percussion

instruments; furthermore, this example illustrates the

the composer's handling of syncopation within a 5/4 meter

(Figure 2).

Fa.lsrUI..- 1.00)

I. W I 4 I *
2. WiA mn in hap.hiWd beasis of Ue M iid < W Mil gPaiud m ae fnod

1. Sp-ri 1. ru lmbubc, G loria from "La Fiesta le- la Posa. a,
s2. wr ei p-shiss b- h fiald Wm ur pam1ld a *Ia-lds

SFjaaric-a 100)

-e** a I 1 g G .!
ra dn a n l gtaIl User sa Glo a .......

ilw ws so is>MThL unM Gl a.n .. ..


rn rr rt r

ir 1. "ruhbeck, Gloria from "La Fiesta rie la Posada,"
pleasures 1-11

With th thyt amic an n ( -ca. 1761
SALO -- .

1. God's lov made ,v i bll la m P- h -l1t-bll.

Wi Gd Hl thS to imao .. 176

S rJ J I

PIANO m-il M

He i. in- la-l-bl4 I loHis I- IID | Frml- o I. b-ut-a f-l.
Hs b n-to st His 0,w "*UU "4tg T HIa ail han-or br |.

Fi-ure 2. Brubeck, God's
"La Fiesta de

Love Made Visible from
la Posada," measuress 1-5

Brubeck's exposure to jazz through the media, such

as recordings and radio, was limited during the lone years.

This factor made it difficult for Brubeck to be aware of

different jazz styles that were emerging during this time.

Brubeck remarked, "I had little opportunity to listen to

much music in jazz after I moved to lone and our family

didn't listen to much jazz on the radio. Occasionally,

I could get the Benny Goodman Show on Saturday night"

(Gleason, August 8, 1957, p. 18). It was Bob Skinner who

was influential in bringing Brubeck into contact with

various jazz recordings. These recordings included, most

likely, jazz artists such as Teddy Wilson, Duke Ellington,

and Thomas "Fats" Waller. "Fats" Waller was greatly

admired by Brubeck; Brubeck remarked, "But as to records,

I had only the one "Fats" Waller record, which I still

have--I bought it in Sacramento when I was about fourteen.

It was Honey on the Moon Tonight and Close as Fingers in

a Glove" (Gleason, August 8, 1957, p. 18).

While in high school Brubeck came under the influence

of other pop musicians on a more professional basis. He

played many one-nighters with various local country bands.

These dance "gigs" served as an initiation into the

nocturnal world of the jazz musician. According to Rice

(1961), some of the Saturday night dances often became

somewhat "gamy" for the fifteen-year old due to vestiges

of the California gold-mining days. Rice stated

That part of California is not only ranch
country but gold-mining country--Sutter
Creek, in which the nuggets that started
the 1849 rush were found, is only a few
miles from Ione--and the local inhabitants
were capable of creating quite some
turmoil on a Saturday night. (Rice,
1961, p. 60)

Despite his early isolation from the mainstream of

jazz, Brubeck was able to branch out while attending the

College of the Pacific. He made frequent trips to San

Francisco, where his friend, Bob Skinner, was performing

and beginning to gain public recognition. Gleason (1957)

mentioned that during these times Brubeck would sit in

with many different San Francisco jazz musicians, such

as Jerome Richardson, Johnny Cooper, Vernon Alley, Bob

Barfield, and Wilburt Barranco. One particular experience

appeared to be significant for Brubeck. He related that

"in 1941 I came down to the Dawn club in San Francisco.

Lee Watters' Yerba Buena Jazz Band was there, and that's

the first time I actually heard a group play that way"

(Gleason, September 5, 1957, p. 15).

Brubeck's final decision to change from a veterinary

to a music program was partly due to the influence of two

people--J. Russell Bodley and Harold Meeske (Rice, 1961).

Bodley was a harmony and composition teacher; Meeske was

a well-traveled and literate student. According to

Rice (1961), Meeske was

an insurrectionary sort who had bummed around
the world as a sailor, had read Kierkegaard
and Kafka, had kept abreast of the newest
convolutions in poetry, painting, and music,
and had acquired a number of unconventional
ideas about aesthetics and politics and
philosophy. (p. 63)

For some time, Meeske, Brubeck, and four or five

fellow jazz enthusiasts shared quarters. It was during

this time that Meeske set about providing Brubeck with a

quick course in modern culture. Rice related

He [Meeske] provided Brubeck with reading
lists, which included Dostoevski, Mann,
Proust, and so forth; he presided over
subterranean early-morning discussion
sessions devoted to subjects like the
Oedipus complex, Cubism, Marxism, logical
positivism, and tone rows; and he made a
point of unearthing on campus other
candidates for the intelligentsia and
seeing to it that Brubeck got together
with them. (Rice, 1961, p. 63)

Meeske's literary and musical encouragement exerted a

tremendous influence on Brubeck. Brubeck not only began

to think more along the lines of being a composer but also

turned into a more passionate reader. Indeed, it appeared

that the awakening of his intellect was both sudden and


Brubeck listened to and played with many excellent

pianists and musicians prior to entering the military.

Some of these influential musicians have already been

mentioned; others included Nat Cole, Joe Sullivan, Earl

Hines, Stan Kenton, and Cleo Brown.

His admiration for the well-known jazz composer/

arranger Stan Kenton began when Brubeck was only nineteen

years old. Brubeck related, "When Stan first started at

Balboa, I had my own band up north in Oakland. It was

a very young band--I was the oldest, and I was nineteen.

We listened very closely to Stan's band, and ever since

I've always followed Stan's music with great interest"

(Frost, 1963, p. 14).

According to Brubeck, Cleo Brown was the first really

important person that he worked with (Personal interview,

1989). Regarding her influence and expertise, he stated

She was a tremendous influence on me because
of her left hand, and she played boogie woogie
faster than anybody. God, she could go! If
she'd had a right hand like her left, she'd
have given anybody a lot of competition.
(Gleason, August 8, 1957, p. 18)

Mr. Fats illustrates Brubeck's usage of two popular

boogie bass patterns (Figure 3). Although Cleo Brown had

left the jazz field and moved into the area of sacred

music, it was, according to Brubeck, "still the same beat

and same wonderful left hand" (Personal interview, 1989).

He went on to say that "she was so good that when 'Fats'

Waller died, the members of the band asked her to replace

'Fats'. They didn't ask for anyone else--she was

the one" (Personal interview, 1989).

Brubeck's stylistic approach to the piano during the

early 1940s undoubtedly reflected some of the techniques
that were prevalent among these early jazz musicians.

Figure 3. Brubeck, "?ir. Frts," measuress 39-54

Boogie-oriented bass lines, ragtime, and stride piano were

among the techniques often employed.

Brubeck deliberately did not devote an overabundance

of time listening to other performers, either live or on

record (Personal interview, 1989). It appears that he made

every effort not to be a mere imitator. Brubeck stated

I discovered at eighteen that I could play
Teddy Wilson runs and Teddy Wilson bass,
and some of the more difficult things of
Art Tatum, not as clean, but I knew that
with a few vears more work, I could imitate
Art Tatum in some ways. And I saw that
this was going to lead me absolutely nowhere
except to possibly be a poor imitation of
the greatest pianist there was. (Gleason,
September 5, 1957, p. 16)

There were other jazz musicians that Brubeck greatly

admired; however he still attempted not to be overly

influenced by them. He remarked, "I like Tristano, Bud

Powell, Garner, Shearing, Peterson; and I don't listen

to any of them--as little as possible" (Feather, 1953,

p. 12).

Although Brubeck did not spend an excessive amount of

time listening to other musicians, in 1957, he stated,

"I think it's very important for me and for all people

in jazz to have a thorough understanding of the pioneers"

(Gleason, September 5, 1957, p. 15). He considered

Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton (1890-1941) very important

for early jazz development. In regard to "Jelly Roll's"

style, Brubeck related

If you wonder why I include "Jelly Roll,"
listen to a thing called New Orleans
Joys. If you want to hear somebody play
behind the beat further than anybody's
played behind the beat--you have to just
sit there and count, and beat your brains,
and he comes out. (Feather, 1953,
p. 12)

Ragtime piano style had interested Brubeck from an

early age; it was one area that he had hoped to investigate

further. He commented

I was completely fascinated down at Disneyland
a few weeks ago. There were some old piano
roll rags they had in the silent movies that
were great. I would like to get all possible
recordings now and become familiar with all
the people that have contributed to jazz,
especially "Jelly Roll." (Gleason, September
5, 1957, p. 15)

Ragtime influence appears in some of Brubeck's compositions

and improvisations. Figures 4 and 5 serve as examples.

In regard to "Jelly Roll" and another of his favorite

pioneers, Thomas "Fats" Waller, Brubeck said, "I want to

try to find out what made him ["Jelly Roll"] so advanced.

And I would like to know as much as possible about him,

and I'd like to know more about 'Fats'" (Gleason,

September 5, 1957, p. 15). Brubeck felt that "Fats" had

been responsible for starting some of the jazz-technique

approaches that had since become commonplace. He stated

"Fats" was so important--you hear "Fats"
in Tatum, in Garner--he's one of the most
important piano men of all time. A lot

Swinging waits tempo

7iure 4. Brubeck, "Raggy Waltz," '-easures 1-11


F I M I.
I4~ u

S S 5~

7iure 5. rubeck, Rag from "Points on Jazz,"
2:easures 13-25

of the things that are commonplace now,
somebody had to seek them out, and "Fats"
definitely started a lot of them. (Feather,
1953, p. 12)

Brubeck's homage to "Fats" Waller can be seen in his

composition Mr. Fats (Figure 6). This work employs

devices (bass lines & melodic figures) that were

characteristic of the Waller style.

Of all the early pianists, Art Tatum (1910-1956)

held the strongest attraction for Brubeck. Although

Brubeck raved about Tatum's technique and even compared

him to Mozart, he had certain reservations about Tatum's

non-risk jazz approach in public. Brubeck remarked

I think he had a brain similar to Mozart--
total recall, perfect pitch--the technique
that was unbelievable yet to me, you've
got to say he was my favorite pianist, but
I didn't agree with his approach in public.
(Personal interview, 1989)

For Brubeck, the element of risk that occurs during

spontaneous improvisation is an integral part of jazz

and should not be seen in a negative light. According to

Brubeck, if ideas are calculated and worked out too much

"you rob yourself of one great thing and that is the

feeling of spontaneous improvisation, the feeling of

hitting at the moment something that you know that you're

not quite capable of doing" (Voce, 1961, p. 3). In

connection with this philosophy and Tatum's approach,

Brubeck stated

I was taking more risks than most of the guys
that were playing. For instance, if you

C G7 C G7

Em7 \m7 Umn7 E A7 U G7 C7 F

u ;.

Figure 6. Brubeck, "'r. Fats," measuress 1-11


I -

tNth WIt



compare Tatum's Tiger Rag from 1938 to
1956, you're going to hear about the
same chorus. It gets cleaner and
faster. He was clean, but it's
still not, to me, the reason for jazz.
It's more like classical music, and
then you're playing it the same way
every night. The classical audience
goes to hear something like that to
hear the perfection, and I think the
jazz audience should be allowed to
see somebody not make it! (Personal
interview, 1989)

Pianists Billy Kyle and Jimmy Jones should also be

acknowledged as early influences on Brubeck. Kyle had

not only recorded with his own trio but also served as

a pianist for Louis Armstrong (Personal interview, 1989).

Brubeck finally came into contact with Kyle during a

joint recording effort known as The Real Ambassadors--

an endeavor that involved both the Louis Armstrong and

Dave Brubeck groups. In direct reference to Kyle, Brubeck

remarked that "I listened to his playing carefully. .

an early influence on me" and, following their collaboration

on The Real Ambassadors, said, "That was a thrill for me

because I admired him for so long" (Lyons, 1983, p. 106).

Brubeck came into contact with Jimmy Jones about

1948 when Jones was accompanying Sarah Vaughn (Personal

interview). Although Jones did not do very much solo

playing, his harmonic approach to jazz was highly praised

by many musicians (Personal interview, 1989). Vaughn

even confided to Brubeck that "Jimmy didn't, couldn't

solo like most piano players. He could only play chords"

(Lyons, 1983, p. 106). Following one particular nightclub

performance, Brubeck asked Jones, "How do you do so

much harmonically? What are you listening to?" Jones

responded, "The Duke Ellington Orchestra" (Lyons, 1983,

p. 106).

Among the various recordings that Brubeck heard or

owned as a youth, those of Duke Ellington were especially

valued (Personal interview, 1989). Brubeck recounted that

"there've been years when I didn't have a jazz record in

the house. One time I had my whole collection swiped,

all my Ellingtons, and I went ten years without buying

another jazz record" (Gleason, September 5, 1957, p. 16).

According to Brubeck, Ellington's main influence was

through his band because "his band was an extension of

his piano playing" (Lyons, 1983, p. 106). One of Brubeck's

best known piano compositions is The Duke, which contains

melodic figures stylistically similar to those used by

Ellington (Figure 7). During the interview with Lyons

(1983), Brubeck remarked that his favorite Ellington

period was Warm Valley, Jumpin' Pumkins', Jack the Bear,

and Conga Brava.

Brubeck acknowledged his debt to Ellington in the

program at his White House performance in February, 1988.

He dedicated it "to the musicians who taught me so much"

(The D.B.Q. Newsletter, 1988, p. 2). The program

" _- ;' ] 3 -
. -. 4. Pu _s-

I ; -" +ir + '* ? "-

Figure 7. lrubeck, "The Duke," measuress 1-17


*; 29

Wth r1md bt


included music by W. C. Handy, Bill "Count" Basie, "Fats"

Waller, and Duke Ellington. Ellington showed a sincere

interest in what Brubeck was doing. Brubeck related that

he was most appreciative of the encouragement that

Ellington provided (Personal interview, 1989).

Darius Milhaud Influence

In 1968 Brubeck adamantly declared, "Three Jewish

teachers have been a great influence in my life--Irving

Goleman, Darius Milhaud, and Jesus" (Down Beat, February

22, 1968, p. 9). Musically speaking, it was Darius

Milhaud who became Brubeck's primary mentor. In 1987

Brubeck remarked, "Milhaud was one of the greatest human

beings I've ever met and certainly one of my greatest

influences" (Montparker, 1987, p. 8). Like Ellington,

Milhaud provided the young jazz pianist with a tremendous

amount of encouragement. Brubeck stated, "Milhaud also

believed I'd be a composer and when your teacher believes

you can succeed, that's the greatest thing a teacher can

give you" (Lyons, 1983, p. 106).

When Brubeck began his studies with Milhaud at the

College of the Pacific, he received a thorough grounding

in counterpoint, fugue, and orchestration, but not in

piano. Brubeck was often accused of being a classical

pianist and composer who turned to jazz. He vehemently

refuted this idea and remarked, "It's not true; there's

no truth to it at all" (Lyons, 1983, p. 105). Actually,

Brubeck admitted that he went through the College of the

Pacific without being able to read music. He did add that

he acquired some basic reading skills toward the end of

his college days (Personal interview, 1989). Milhaud was

aware of this situation and even found it somewhat

amusing. Brubeck related

I could only play things close to what I
wrote. The theme and the bar lines came
out right, but there were a lot of things
happening at the piano that were not on
paper. He [Milhaud] thought it was funny.
(Lyons, 1983, p. 106)

During his initial classes with Milhaud, Brubeck

decided that jazz might not be the best vehicle for the

presentation of his ideas; hence, his interest in jazz

declined. Milhaud, however, felt strongly that Brubeck

had a natural propensity for jazz and evidently saw the

potential for a cultural contribution. Brubeck stated,

"He [Milhaud] pointed out that every great composer had

expressed his culture in which he was familiar and was

completely familiar with the folk idiom and jazz was the

folk idiom of America" (Gleason, August 8, 1957, p. 19).

Milhaud provided the encouragement for Brubeck's return

to jazz. Brubeck remarked that "Milhaud was the one who

convinced me to go back, saying I couldn't possibly give

up jazz, that it was in me and if I wanted to represent

this culture, jazz was such an important part" (Gleason,

August 8, 1957, p. 19). According to Milhaud, if Brubeck

did not stay with the jazz idiom, he would have been

working out of his own field and not taking advantage

of his American heritage (Time, November 8, 1954).

Compositional Approach
Polyrhvthms and Polytonality

When Brubeck studied with Milhaud, he was primarily

interested in polyrhythms and polytonality. Brubeck was

not alone in his feeling that Milhaud was one of the main

experts on polyrhythms. Chris Goddard, in Jazz away from

Home, praised Milhaud's use and understanding of polyrhythms

and went so far as to say that it comes closer to the

African music concept than does American jazz (Patterson,

Dissertation Proposal, 1989, p. 44). Brubeck's interest

in African music most likely found its impetus from his

association with Milhaud; however, it was not until he

listened to an African recording, Dennis Roosevelt's

Expedition into the Belgian Congo, in the 1940s, that he

began seriously thinking about the African roots of jazz

(Montparker, 1987). Brubeck posed the question, "If jazz

is supposed to be African, what are we doing playing in

4/4 like European marches?" (Montparker, 1987, p. 8).

African folk music would serve as important source

material during Brubeck's later experiments with unusual

meters, polyrhythms, and their application to jazz. Indeed,

Brubeck felt strongly that the African heritage of jazz

deserved more attention. Examples of Brubeck's work in

this area will be found in Chapter VII.

Polytonality became an important vehicle for Brubeck

in his quest to extend the boundary of jazz. It should

be pointed out that, although Milhaud constantly

experimented with ways in which to expand the concept of

tonality, he did not feel a strong affinity for 12-tone

music. In response to his reason for not liking this

approach to composition, Milhaud told Brubeck that "it

never seemed to start somewhere and never got anywhere."

He went on to say that "because of having no home base,

no tonality, which 12-tone composers claim to avoid, they

miss out on the most emotional response you can get in

music, which is the beauty of a modulation" (Lees, 1961,

p. 16).

Following his discharge from the service, Brubeck

came into contact with Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951),

a chief exponent of the dodecaphonic school. Even though

Brubeck only had two lessons with the composer, they were

most revealing. For his second lesson, Brubeck had brought

him a piece of music he had composed. Brubeck recounted

He [Schoenberg] said, "that's very good.
Now go home and don't write anything like
that again until you know why everything
is there. Do you know now?" he asked.
I said, "Isn't it reason enough if it
sounds good?" He said, "No, you have to
know why." That was my last lesson with
Schoenberg. (Lyons, 1980, p. 207)

It should be mentioned, however, that Brubeck has utilized

aspects of 12-tone technique in some of his compositions.

One example is Section XII in The Gates of Justice.

Shortly after Brubeck and Paul Desmond joined forces,

Desmond related, "We decided to play the blues in B-flat,

but the first chord Dave played was G major! It almost

scared me to death" (Time, November 8, 1954, p. 74). A

typical Brubeck voicing of this polytonal chord can be

seen in Figure 8. Even though Brubeck conceived this

composite chord as containing two distinct tonalities

(G major and B-flat major), it can also be analyzed as a

thirteenth chord built on the root B-flat.

Another technique discovered by Brubeck in the 1940s

that has since become commonplace among many jazz pianists

consisted of building chord structures by triads whose

roots belong to the same diminished chord. The chords in

Figure 9 illustrate this approach. Effective sounds were

also created by combining chords whose roots were a

whole-step apart (Figure 10). Brubeck stated that "even

Q OB7 or b8639

Figure 8. Polytonal voicing

E /C

= :

\ q J
2,. IS
LI) f_

Figure 9. Polytonal chordal structures


^ .-c

Figure 10. Polytonal chord structure

polytonal chords with a minor-second relationship sound

great! Also, thinking of the flat 5th as the center of

a scale gives you a good polytonal relationship" (Laverne,

1987, p. 104). This latter approach can be seen in

Figure 11.

The manner in which Brubeck utilized his polytonal

ideas resulted in a more horizontal-chordal approach that,

as Laverne (1987) also pointed out, became a trademark.

Brubeck's early "blockbuster" approach to jazz piano

often resulted in an array of negative criticism. Figure

12 illustrates Brubeck's chordal style within a specific

jazz work.

Although Milhaud provided Brubeck with the tools for

polyrhythmic and polytonal composition, influence also

came from other twentieth-century composers such as Bela

Bartok (1881-1945) and Igor Stravinsky (1822-1971)

(Personal interview, 1989). These influences were not only

of a stylistic nature but also related to a philosophical

outlook. Through composers such as Milhaud and Stravinsky,

Brubeck learned the important dictum that artistic freedom

cannot be successfully attained without discipline (Personal

interview, 1989). In his Poetics of Music, Stravinsky


The creator's function is to sift the elements
he receives from [imagination], for human
activity must impose limits on itself. The

Figure 11. Polytonal chord structure

L i D7 .II D Ii -
Ei7~~j II /J C/ny8,-t.----.,m

"{ .[TF

Figure 12. Brubeck, "Georgia on my Mind," ensuress 29-38

more art is controlled, limited, worked
over, the more it is free. (Grout, 1960,
p. 640)

Influence of European Classical Composers
Integration of Classical and Jazz Elements

It is obvious that, for Brubeck, a symbiotic

relationship between classical music and jazz served as

an important stylistic thrust. This involved both

performing and composing. He remarked, "When I play

jazz I am influence by classical music. And when I compose

I am influenced by jazz" (Time, November 10, 1952, p. 94).

Again, it was Milhaud who was to provide the influence.

Brubeck exclaimed that "he [Milhaud] was also the first

to use jazz in the classical idiom when he wrote The

Creation of the World (1923). This was before [Ernst]

Krenek and [George] Gershwin used jazz in compositions"

(Lyons, 1983, p. 106). In regard to classical influence

and Brubeck's early recording of the Octet, Paul Desmond


The music aspired to the vigor and force of
simple jazz, the harmonic complexities of
Bart5k and Milhaud, the form (and much of
the dignity) of Bach, and at times the
lyrical romanticism of Rachmaninoff. (Lyons,
1980, p. 209)

In some of the literature, Brubeck was labeled as a

classical pianist who turned to jazz. This is an area

that needs to be clarified. Even though he studied

composition, theory, and ear-training formally, he did

not indulge in classical piano to any great extent.

Moreover, he studied piano as a child (with his mother)

and during his last year at the College of the Pacific

(Lyons, 1983).

According to Brubeck, Milhaud was a stickler on

Bach and Mendelssohn and insisted that Brubeck study

fugues and follow all the rules (Montparker, 1987).

Brubeck felt that Bach was never far removed from jazz,

and most jazz musicians feel the debt to him (Personal

interview, 1989).

Brubeck's contrapuntal approach to jazz permeates

a wide spectrum of works and genres. It can be evidenced

in some of the earlier piano pieces, such as Brandenburg

Gate (1959). Note the use of a Bach-type theme and simple

imitative counterpoint in Figure 13. Two-Part Contention

(the title of which obviously stemmed from a word play

on Bach's two-part inventions) serves as a good

illustration of the contrapuntal approach to jazz

improvisation. Another interesting example can be found

in the two-piano arrangement of Points on Jazz (1962).

This work, originally intended as a ballet, contains a

collection of movements, the fourth of which is titled

"Fugue." In Figure 14 we find the main fugue subject

(meas. 1-3) in the dominant of c minor stated in the

' ----

C7 2

aeMdwetwiy fast Ia a *wingiag sty i*.o



Figure 14. Brubeck, Fuoue from "Points on Jazz,"
Measures 1-12

bass, followed by its extra entrances in the tenor, alto,

and soprano voices. Note the contour of the fugue subject,

which results from an equal balance of steps and leaps.

Points on Jazz also serves as a good example of

Brubeck's neo-Baroque approach to formal design. Cast

in suite form, it consists of eight dance-oriented

movements--Prelude, Scherzo, Blues, Fugue, Rag, Chorale,

Waltz, and A La Turk. These movements are actually

rhythmic variations of the theme presented in the Prelude.

Time Further Out (1960) was also conceived as a

suite. Referred to as a Blues Suite by Brubeck, it

incorporates nine separate movements.

Brubeck also employed the Baroque-like ground bass.

Figure 15 is taken from the 1959 Time Out collection and

illustrates the usage of a passacaglia bass line to unify

the entire composition.

The coda of Strange Meadowlark provides an example

of an effective use of a pedal or organ point (Figure 16).

This composition also exhibits other style characteristics,

consistent with Brubeck, such as the predilection for

melodic/harmonic sequences and eighth and quartet-note

triplet figures. Although Figure 17 contains cyclic root

movement (up 4, down 5) that is commonplace among jazz

musicians, the melodic sequence in the right hand is typical

of Brubeck's approach. In measure 108 we find the usage

S.~ I.. i

I.' P

Figure 15. Brubeck, "Pick up Sticks," measuress 1-11

Ec e E4c E' W

C c

- T- -, -- --

Figure 16. Brubeck, "Strange Meadowlark,"
measures 156-160

7 7 ,+7 7

A1 ,

V IE-b

Figure 17. Brubeck, "Strange "'eadow.ark," Measure 68

of triplet figures favored by the composer (Figure 18).

The 1955 composition, In Your Own Sweet Way, displays

another prevalent triplet approach (Figure 19).

Another pre-20th-century classical composer who

exerted considerable influence on Brubeck was Frederick

Chopin (1810-1849). This influence is especially

noticeable in the melodic approach of some of Brubeck's

ballads. Note the melody in Figure 20. The leaps and

subsequent chromatic movement in the melodic line are

very characteristic of Chopin's style.

While in Poland, Brubeck was taken by some students

of Paznan to the Music Museum where he was shown the room

dedicated to the memory of Chopin. This experience was

very profound for Brubeck. He related

A statue of Chopin that had been demolished
in World War II had been lovingly reconstructed.
The visible scars across the face gave the
statue impressive power and significance--like
the crack in our own Liberty Bell. I saw the
cast of Chopin's hands, his death mask, and
had the thrill of touching the pianos upon
which he had performed. With these impressions
fresh in my mind, we performed that night,
"Dziekuje," a theme I had written based on the
Polish phrase for "thank you." (liner notes,
1958, Jazz Impressions of Eurasia)

Dziekuie (Figure 21) illustrates Brubeck's Chopin-

like treatment of melody. Note the subtle chromatic lines

that are created by effective leap and step movement.

In the original version, the left hand is also reminiscent

of Chopin in its arpeggiated treatment.


Fm7 B8 E 7 A7maj DHb

S i L 5 \

~ ." ; .
2 2 2 1 -
5 4 5 2

Figure 13. Brubeck, tr;r, M meadowlark,"
Measures 108-109

UodLruoD IhUnd UMn louC-

9 i.-\ 9- ... A :- ....r (0
S ,,

I C -1 L
-. ~ -n-I~

~--i--- -- 3-
( I,
n r.JJ

Figure 19. Brubeck, "In Your Own Sweet Uay,"
Measures 1-7

cF. )t -l



Figure 20. Bruheck, "Slue Shadows in the Street,"
measuress 1-12

Woderately slow t~; lt

,I l I .

Bim CT Ft m

A ,=
, ,; ... .. ....: .. ..

.... ---,---- *,--- <- .=- F

CGim. FT
*1 G C a

4 i


G d-, OGt Cdim P,

Figure 21. nrubeck, "Dziekuje," measures s 1-16

After Dziekuje was recorded in the Quartet album

Jazz Impressions of Eurasia, it was heard by Dania Krupska,

an American choreographer of Polish descent who asked

Brubeck if he would use the theme to provide a score for

a jazz ballet she was preparing for the Metropolitan Opera.

Although Brubeck finished the full score, the Met

presentation had to be cancelled. Brubeck salvaged the

work by adding a Fugue and rearranging the ballet as a duo-

piano composition (Points on Jazz). The adaptability of

the Dziekuje theme was further evidenced when Iola Brubeck

added words and produced a jazz vocal ballad; it was titled

There'll be no Tomorrow and subsequently recorded by Carmen


Iola Brubeck has been an important influence by not

only providing lyrics for some of her husband's earlier

and later ballads, such as How Does Your Garden Grow,

Easy as You Go, Dizzy's Dream, Strange Meadowlark, and

Swing Bells, but also by collaborating on his large choral

jazz works. These include the oratorio, The Light in the

Wilderness (1968), and the cantatas, The Gates of Justice

(1969) and Truth is Fallen (1971).

Jazz Choral Compositions

Although Brubeck's large-scale jazz choral works are not

a focal point in the present study, it is apparent that his

compositions in this genre added significantly to the

literature and show strong influences of a religious


In regard to a religious affiliation and The Light

in the Wilderness, Brubeck related

Although reared as a Presbyterian by a
Christian Scientist mother who attended
a Methodist church, and although this
piece was written with the theological
counsel of a Vedanta leader, a Unitarian
minister, an Episcopal bishop, and
several Jesuit priests, I am not affiliated
with any church. (Down Beat, February 22,
1968, p. 9)

Brubeck's desire to compose an oratorio stemmed from an

earlier age. He stated

When I was 21 in the army I wanted to write
an oratorio based on the ten commandments,
especially on thou shall not kill. We were
going against Italy which was the center of
Catholicism and Germany which was the center
Lutherism and the reformation of Catholicism--
which was England and the other European
countries, all totally ignoring the
commandments. That was the first time I
started wishing I could write an oratorio.
(Personal interview, 1989)

It is interesting to note that Brubeck does not claim

to be the first composer of a religious jazz work. He

related that "there was a 'kid' who was a teacher in

Texas who lost his daughter and wrote the first mass or

religious piece. It was such a tragedy in his life. He

was a jazz musician, so I don't claim to be first--but I

never actually heard that piece" (Personal interview,


Brubeck explained that The Light in the Wilderness

was "simply one man's attempt to distill in his own

thoughts and express in his own way the essence of Jesus'

teaching" (Dance, 1968, p. 60). This oratorio for

orchestra, chorus, and baritone soloist, was given a

premier in January, 1968 at the University of North

Carolina in a utility version for organ, percussion, chorus,

and baritone soloist. In February of the same year, it

was presented by the Cincinnati Symphony at its second

annual Ecumenical Concert (Dance, 1968, p. 60)

The text for the oratorio was taken from the Gospels

and Psalms. The first part of the work relates to the

Forty Days in the Desert, the Temptations by the Devil,

the Sermon on the Mount, the choosing of the Apostles,

and the commandments to love God, one's neighbor, and

one's enemy. Man's faith in god and his place in the

universe are addressed in the second part. Portions of the

work reflect an eclectic approach. Brubeck stated

The "Temptations" are in 5/4 to emphasize
that in each of us (even Jesus) the tug of
war between good and evil is never ending. .
in "Love Your Enemies,"--a musical collage
of quick jumps from modern to modal, Middle
East to country hoe-down, jazz, rock and roll,
to martial drums. (Dance, 1968, p. 60)

The oratorio, which alternates jazz and non-jazz

sections, allows for the element of improvisation. As

an indication of performer approach and flexibility,

Brubeck said

As a composer, I prefer the uninterrupted
flow of text without improvisatory passages.
As a performer, I have found the piece an
enjoyable and challenging vehicle, and
encourage other keyboard players to develop
their own interpretations of and variations
on the several themes. In this regard, the
improvisatory style may or may not be in
the jazz idiom, depending on the musical
orientation of the performer. (Stuessy,
1978, p. 396-97)

An excerpt from "Forty Days" can be seen in Figure 22.

It not only illustrates the composer's approach to choral

part-writing but also shows the careful attention to

interpretive markings (articulation, dynamics, and tempo).

Brubeck's cantata, The Gates of Justice, commissioned

by the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of

Cincinnati, in conjunction with the Union of American

Hebrew Congregations, contains a text derived from the

Old Testament and writings of Martin Luther King. The

work is scored for jazz trio, bass-baritone (Negro, if

possible), cantorial tenor, chorus, brass ensemble, and

organ. Pointing to the juxtaposition of contrasting

elements, Stuessy (1978) stated

The Jewish tenor (Cantor) is given a non-jazz
style. The Negro bass-baritone is more likely
to be given a jazz, blues, or rock style. The
sections in which the jazz writing is predomi-
nant are as follows: section IIIa (near the
end); section IV; section VII (includes both a
big-band jazz style and a rock organ improvi-
sation); and section XI (rock style including
rock ostinato). Other sections display a less
prominent jazz influence: section II (rhythmic

-He ; t -p en rU.

oan. He mnu proe >o doubl-n. mn. He o the San.

jon. He Ime* p t deiOtng mn a: Hi a the Se. of

done He must pron to doube*t not mno. He-- a the Sho jf

mi oee e He the 7

lSee,. *oU i ed Caca.. ct nauum

l ww_ ,, ___

Figure 22. Brubecl, Forty Days from "The Light in
The Wilderness," measuress 52-62

and harmonic influences); section IIIb
(occasional blue notes in the Negro
melodic line); section V (blues-influenced
bass-baritone song with jazz piano
accompaniment); section VI (rhythmic
background); and section IX (rhythmic
influences). Section XII is based on a
twelve-tone row which contains six
perfect fourths. (p. 397)

Figure 23 illustrates the twelve-tone row that is utilized

in section XII.

The Gates of Justice received a highly favorable

reception at its premier on October 19th, 1969 in

Cincinnati's Rockdale Temple. Paul Cooper remarked

Brubeck eschews third-stream techniques in
favor of jazz-to-rock basis with significant
overtones from Jewish sacred music; all
strongly tonal, clearly designed, immediate,
and very much in focus. The occasional
quotes from music literature of the past
(Bach, as an example) suggest strong
philosophical premises in the conception
and composing of this work. (Cooper, 1969,
p. 98)

"Oh, Come Let Us Sing," from The Gates of Justice, provides

a good example of the combining of duplet and triplet rhythm

patterns (Figure 24).

Truth is Fallen, premiered by the Cincinnati Symphony

Orchestra in 1971, is a lament for the victims of Kent and

Jackson State Universities. According to Ramsey (1972),

the message is that "our conscience has been buried

beneath war, greed, and racism and that the way out is

through God and love" (p. 19).


9 4 f


Figure 23. Brubeck, "The Gates of Justice," Section XII
Tone row

I i I I


---- / --- e-- ,1 -

--I j f ,

S --- -

:- -_--h n .

S u- -~ -

'hi se,,el ,, Sl T2 "l 0
-' ,.1- ff

-2 --.- 2--' i .s

Figure 24. Brubeck, Oh, Come Let UIs from
"The Gates of Justice," M'easures 37-106

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