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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Welcome to Straight No Chaser, the Award-winning Podcast hosted by Jeffrey Siegel

May 7, 2013

"A Celebration of the Life and Music of Dave Brubeck" will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 4:00 P.M. at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue in New York City.  There are no tickets to this event; the event is free and all are welcome.

Artists scheduled to perform Chick Corea, Paquito D'Rivera, Branford Marsalis, Paul Winter, Eugene Wright, Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis, Roy Hargrove, Roberta Gambarini, Bill Charlap, John Salmon, Renee Rosnes, Andy Laverne, Ted Rosenthal, Rufus Reid, Hilary Kole, Michael Pedicin, Jr., Mark Morganelli, Deepak Ram, The Brubeck Institute Alumni Jazz Quintet and Dave’s sons, Darius, Chris, Matthew and Dan Brubeck.  Speakers include The Very Reverend James Kowalski, Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Iola Brubeck and George Wein. Sirius XM's Mark Ruffin will host the proceedings.  It is also expected that some of the artists will share stories and thoughts during the program.

Jazz legend Dave Brubeck passed away on December 5, 2012 at age 91, the day before his 92nd birthday.  A private funeral was held in Wilton, Connecticut in December, 2012. However, the family was intent on celebrating Dave’s life and music in a very public way after a brief interval. Working with producer (and Brubeck fan and friend) Danny Melnick, this event was scheduled. I spoke with Melnick as the event was being finalized, and he shared his thoughts about the late, great pianist; the make-up of the event; and the way the Brubeck legacy will continue. Click here to listen to Podcast 346, which features that conversation along with Brubeck music, including:

Dave Brubeck Quartet – “Spring in Central Park” from Jazz Impressions of New York.  The Celebration is in New York City, so it seems appropriate to kick off the music with a selection celebrating the wonders of Central Park. This is the classic Brubeck Quartet circa 1964: Brubeck on piano, Paul Desmond on sax, Eugene Wright on bass, and Joe Morello on drums.

Dave Brubeck Quartet – “The Duke” from Jazz: Red, Hot and Cool. Melnick mentions that Brubeck played more of the music of Duke Ellington in his later years, and this composition from 1957 was an early tribute to the great jazz pioneer. The quartet for this recording includes Brubeck on piano, Desmond on sax, Bob Bates on bass and Joe Dodge on drums.

Roberta Gambarini and Dave Brubeck – “Alice in Wonderland” from Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants to be a Cat. One of the last original recordings Dave made was his contribution to this anthology featuring the talented singer Roberta Gambarini, who will perform at the Celebration. Brubeck was one of the first jazz performers to find source material in the Disney catalogue, beginning with his 1957 album Dave Digs Disney, four years before Miles and Trane recorded “Someday My Prince Will Come”.

Dave Brubeck – “Thank You (Dziekuje)” from Two Generations of Brubeck. Dave children have become excellent musicians in their own right, and in 1973 he recorded their first collaboration, Two Generations of Brubeck. Sons Chris (bass, trombone), Darius (piano, keyboards), and Danny (drums) are featured on the album.

Dave Brubeck Quartet – “Blue Rondo a la Turk” from Time Out. The Brubeck catalogue of compositions is full of great tunes, including “In Your Own Sweet Way”, “Three to Get Ready”, and this seminal track from 1959. The composition starts in 9/8, with a typically Balkan 2+2+2+3 subdivision into short and long beats (the rhythm of the Turkish zeybek, the equivalent of the Greek zeibekiko) as opposed to the more Western 3+3+3 pattern, but the saxophone and piano solos are in 4/4. The title is a play on Mozart’s "Rondo alla Turca" from his Piano Sonata No. 11, and reflects the fact that the band heard the rhythm while traveling in Turkey. 

Information on The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine can be found at or by calling 212-316-7540.  Public inquiries regarding the Dave Brubeck celebration can be directed to and will be answered when further details become available. Further information on the event can be found at and