MUSIC CLIP - OSCAR PETERSON, “MOONGLOW”
Welcome to Afterglow, I’m your host, Mark Chilla.
On this show, we’re paying tribute to pianist and songwriter Dave Brubeck. In the late 1950s, Brubeck became a superstar in the jazz world, creating a cool jazz style that was hip, catchy, and intellectual, appealing especially to college students. This hour, I’ll be exploring his work with jazz singers. We’ll hear Brubeck alongside singers like Carmen McRae, Louis Armstrong, and Tony Bennett. We’ll also hear some of vocal versions of Brubeck’s original songs, including songs he wrote with his wife Iola, like “In Your Own Sweet Way” and “Strange Meadowlark.”
It’s Everybody’s Jumpin’ With Dave Brubeck, coming up next on Afterglow
MUSIC - CARMEN MCRAE, “SUMMER SONG”
MUSIC - CARMEN MCRAE, “IT’S A RAGGY WALTZ”
Carmen McRae and the Dave Brubeck Quartet with two songs written by Dave Brubeck. Just now, we heard them in 1961 with “It’s A Raggy Waltz,” a song that also appeared as an instrumental on the 1961 Brubeck album Time Further Out. Before that, we heard “Summer Song,” a song that he co-wrote with his wife Iola. They originally wrote that song for Louis Armstrong to sing on the 1962 album The Real Ambassadors, which we’ll hear more from a little bit later. “Summer Song” was one of Armstrong’s favorites.MUSIC CLIP - DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET, "IT'S A RAGGY WALTZ"
MUSIC CLIP - DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET, “TAKE FIVE”
Mark Chilla here on Afterglow. On this show, we’re saluting pianist and songwriter Dave Brubeck, by looking at his work with notable singers.
In the 1950s, Brubeck and his quartet, which included alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, became pioneers in the West Coast cool jazz sound. On albums like their groundbreaking, best-selling 1959 album Time Out, they created hip, intellectual jazz that drew upon modern art music ideas, including unusual time signatures, and mixed it with catchy melodies and a sparse, block chord style. The Brubeck Quartet became especially popular on college campuses, ushering in a younger jazz style that helped define the genre in the 1950s and 60s.
By the early 1960s, Brubeck was a jazz superstar, and had a cultural cache that rivaled many pop musicians at the time. In 1962, he was invited by President Kennedy to perform at the White House, as part of a fun summer concert the Kennedys organized for the D.C. college interns. Brubeck played some of his big hits with his quartet and acted as a guest accompanist for the other invited perform, singer Tony Bennett.
It was only recently that a recording of this concert was uncovered, and I’ll play a bit of that recording now. Here is Dave Brubeck and Tony Bennett live at the White House in 1962 with Arlen and Mercer’s “That Old Black Magic,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - DAVE BRUBECK AND TONY BENNETT, “THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC”
MUSIC - DAVE BRUBECK AND TONY BENNETT, “THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER YOU”
Tony Bennett accompanied by the Dave Brubeck Trio, live at the White House in the summer of 1962. That was the Harry Warren and Mack Gordon song “There Will Never Be Another You” and the Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer song “That Old Black Magic.”
Although Brubeck and Bennett would perform together decades later at the Newport Jazz Festival, the singer that Dave Brubeck was most associated with throughout his career was Carmen McRae. McRae and Brubeck recorded and toured together for many years. McRae was also one of the first singers to tackle the difficult rhythms of the Brubeck quartet’s idiosyncratic jazz style, including their iconic song “Take Five” (which was actually written by the quartet’s saxophonist Paul Desmond).
I’ll play a couple of tracks now from a live album Brubeck and McRae recorded together in 1961, featuring all songs written by (or associated with) Dave Brubeck. And I’ll begin with that iconic Paul Desmond song.
This is Carmen McRae and Dave Brubeck with “Take Five” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - CARMEN MCRAE AND DAVE BRUBECK, “TAKE FIVE”
MUSIC - CARMEN MCRAE AND DAVE BRUBECK, “IN YOUR OWN SWEET WAY”
MUSIC - CARMEN MCRAE AND DAVE BRUBECK, “THERE’LL BE NO TOMORROW”
Carmen McRae and Dave Brubeck live at Basin Street East in 1961. We just heard two songs written by Dave Brubeck and his wife Iola. That was “There’ll Be No Tomorrow” and “In Your Own Sweet Way.” And before that, “Take Five” an iconic Brubeck song written by Brubeck’s saxophonist Paul Desmond, with lyrics added by Iola Brubeck. That comes from the 1961 album Take Five Live.
Another notable jazz singer that Dave Brubeck worked with in the 1960s was the former Count Basie blues shouter Jimmy Rushing. It was an unconventional pairing: Rushing was an icon of jazz past, a singer rooted in the Big Band era of the 1930s, and Brubeck was a young representative of jazz’s future (or at least its present). But they find common ground rooted in a breezy swing, and the light touches of Brubeck’s piano playing and Paul Desmond’s alto saxophone.
Let’s hear them with a song that dates back to the 1920s. This is the Dave Brubeck Quartet and singer Jimmy Rushing with Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - JIMMY RUSHING AND DAVE BRUBECK, “AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’”
Jimmy Rushing, formerly of Count Basie’s orchestra in the 1930s and 40s, singing here with the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1960. That was “Ain’t Misbehavin’” by Fats Waller, Andy Razaf, and Harry Brooks, from the 1960 Columbia album Brubeck and Rushing.MUSIC CLIP - DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET, "EVERYBODY'S JUMPIN'"
Coming up in just a moment, we’ll hear more singers alongside pianist Dave Brubeck, including some more songs written by Brubeck. Stay with us.
I’m Mark Chilla, and you’re listening to AfterglowMUSIC CLIP - DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET, "THEME FROM MR. BROADWAY"
MUSIC CLIP - DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET, "UNSQUARE DANCE"
Welcome back to Afterglow, I’m Mark Chilla. We’ve been exploring pianist Dave Brubeck and his work with singers this hour. In addition to being one of the most influential cool jazz pianists of the 1950s and 60s, Brubeck was also a notable songwriter and composer. He wrote over 400 jazz compositions in addition to dozens of songs, most of these songs alongside his wife Iola Brubeck serving as lyricist. And later in his career, he even wrote some large scale classical compositions, including several orchestral works, dozens of choral works, and even two ballets.
I want to turn now to one of Dave and Iola Brubeck’s first large-scale compositions, the 1962 multi-movement jazz musical known as The Real Ambassadors. This work told a slightly fictionalized story of jazz musicians travelling around the world bringing American jazz and culture to other nations. And it was inspired by Brubeck’s own travels around the world, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, along with other “jazz ambassadors” like Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, and of course, Louis Armstrong.
For the musical, which was later turned into an album released by Columbia Records, the Brubeck Quartet served as the accompaniment, along with the jazz group Lambert, Hendricks and Ross as the chorus, and the two vocal soloists being Carmen McRae and Armstrong himself.
Let’s hear a few tracks from that jazz musical now. First up, this is Louis Armstrong and the Dave and Iola Brubeck song “Since Love Had Its Way,” on Afterglow.
Louis Armstrong, Lambert Hendricks and Ross, and the Dave Brubeck quartet with “Cultural Exchange” and “Since Love Had Its Way,” two songs from the 1962 album The Real Ambassadors, a jazz musical written by Dave Brubeck and his wife Iola.
Dave and Iola Brubeck were really an underrated songwriting pair. Songs like “Summer Song,” “There’ll Be No Tomorrow,” and “In Your Own Sweet Way” are really lovely songs, and I wish they were bigger parts of the jazz canon. I’ll play two original songs for you now, one recorded by Carmen McRae in 1960 and one recorded by singer Ranny Sinclair in 1966, both with Brubeck at the piano.
First, here’s Carmen McRae with the Dave and Iola Brubeck song “Weep No More,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - CARMEN MCRAE, “WEEP NO MORE”
MUSIC - RANNY SINCLAIR, “AUTUMN IN OUR TOWN”
Two songs written by Dave Brubeck with his wife Iola. Just now, we heard singer Ranny Sinclair, who had a really short singing career in the 1960s, with “Autumn In Our Town.” Before that, the one and only Carmen McRae with “Weep No More,” recorded for the 1960 album Tonight Only! Both of those songs also featured Dave Brubeck on the piano, and were collected (along with many of the other songs on this show) on the Dave Brubeck album Vocal Encounters, released by Columbia Records in 2001.
MUSIC CLIP - DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET, “STRANGE MEADOWLARK”
Despite a career that lasted for decades and a repertoire that consists of hundreds of original pieces, Dave Brubeck is probably most well-known for his groundbreaking 1959 album Time Out. And with good reason too! It’s a fantastic album, worthy of all the praise it’s been given (and all the money it’s made) over the years. The songs on this album are the ones that have stuck in our memories and have been interpreted and reinterpreted by so many artists over the years.
So to close off this hour, let’s hear two more recent recordings of two of the tracks from this album now. First, here is singer Rene Marie in 2011 with the Dave Brubeck song “Strange Meadowlark,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - RENE MARIE, “STRANGE MEADOWLARK”
MUSIC - AL JARREAU, “ROUND, ROUND, ROUND (BLUE RONDO A LA TURK)”
Al Jarreau in 1981 with his vocalese version of Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo A La Turk,” one of the rhythmically-complex songs on the 1959 album Time Out. That comes from Jarreau’s album Breakin’ Away. Before that, we heard jazz singer Rene Marie from her 2011 album Voice Of My Beautiful Country, with the Dave Brubeck song “Strange Meadowlark,” also originally from the album Time Out.
And thanks for tuning in to this vocal tribute to the music of Dave Brubeck, on Afterglow.
MUSIC CLIP - DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET, "BLUE RONDO A LA TURK"
Afterglow is part of the educational mission of Indiana University and produced by WFIU Public Radio in beautiful Bloomington, Indiana. The executive producer is John Bailey.
Playlists for this and other Afterglow programs are available on our website. That’s at indianapublicmedia.org/afterglow.
I’m Mark Chilla, and join me next week for our mix of Vocal Jazz and popular song from the Great American Songbook, here on Afterglow