Dave Brubeck at Masonic Auditorium

(Warning: retroblog post)


Tonight I saw Dave Brubeck at Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco.  Dave is one of the jazz greats and I have always wanted to see him perform live.  As a drummer, his Time Out album is one of those things you must own.  For those who don’t know the album, it features non-traditional time signatures and its hit, Take Five, was in the background on The Sopranos the week before.  If you don’t know Take Five, well, you’re missing out.  At any rate, there were two standouts in the evening.  The first was the drum solo by Randy Jones.  I’m not sure how old he is but the guy is much older than I am and he really smoked.  Drum solos are oftentimes sources of cheap applause but this guy’s solo was unbelievable and deserved the loud applause it got.  He fell into this theme and would keep coming back to it, building and layering each time.


Of course, the second highlight was Dave Brubeck.  There are few living jazz artists left with the cultural impact he has had.  According to Wikipedia he is now 86 but the amount of life he had onstage defied his age.  During the performance he was calling out to the other band members while comping, laughing and having a great time in general.  His chops seemed as good as they ever have been.  He had a few words for the audience and you could witness his age in his speech and in his cadence as we walked across the stage.


One other minor funny thing was a moment when the band leader for the big band, featured in the second half of the program, announced a song that incorporated some elements of Count Basie and someone in the audience yelled out “Hell yeah!”  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a shout out for Count Basie.  He’s one bad ass MF.  Jazz is alive!


The whole show was excellent and aside from the musical talent of the performers and historical significance, it was a great testament to the dichotomy of age (an odometer) versus experience (condition of the car).

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