Time Out: Jazz Legend Dave Brubeck Dies At 91

take-five-dave-brubeck-jazzJazz legend Dave Brubeck died today from heart failure at the age of 91. He will be sorely missed, but leaves behind an amazing legacy of incredibly beautiful,  complex, and emotionally compelling music.

Brubeck was my inspiration and introduction to the world of jazz. His iconic 1959 album, “Time Out” was a revelation. How could such complex rhythms still swing? How could such wildly improvisational tunes still be catchy and accessible enough to become hits on the Billboard pop charts?

An innovator in the “cool jazz” movement of the late ’50’s, Brubeck led me and millions of other listeners on a journey to discover, experience, and appreciate the ever-evolving, ever-changing, ever-expressive nature of improvisational jazz.

Over the course of my career in broadcasting and music; I’ve been to hundreds of concerts. But none of them moved me as profoundly, as deeply, and in such a personal way as the Dave Brubeck concert I attended in Seattle sometime in the late ’90s or early 2000’s.

While I cannot remember the exact date; I can remember my great joy and bliss being tempered by a sense of deep melancholy, when I realized that this great lion of jazz piano who was at the time in his ’80s, might one day soon pass away.

Who could possibly take the place of such a great master? Who could possibly play, inspire, emote, and mesmerize as adeptly, beautifully, and meaningfully as this wonderful man?

I didn’t have the answer then, and I don’t have it now. But, what I do have, is great praise, gratitude, and appreciation for the incredible music Brubeck left us.

If you’re not yet familiar with his music; take a few moments to listen to “Time Out”, and you will understand why millions of people have become such devoted fans over the last half century. He was one of a kind, a true original; gone now, but never to be forgotten.


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‘Yes To The Mess’ Explores Link Between Jazz + Business (USA Today Book Review)

I was really happy when my Editor at USA Today gave the me the opportunity to review Frank J. Barrett’s new book “Yes To the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons From Jazz”. (Click here to read review).

That’s because I’m not only a jazz fan and singer; but also because I programmed music for businesses and homes worldwide for more than 10 years, when I worked for AEI Music/DMX in Seattle.

Through classic jazz at Talbot’s, Smooth Jazz at Hilton Garden Inn, Bossa Nova at World Market, and electronica-laced Acid Jazz at Polo Ralph Lauren; the colorful palette of jazz, and jazz-hybrid styles helped me paint unique and compelling audio brand images for my clients.

Programming music for business also taught me how working for a company that adopts the collaborative and improvisational jazz mindset, can lead to increased creativity, innovation, and harmony in the workplace.

So, when I read “Yes To The Mess”, I had the most amazing “ah-ha!” moment. What Frank Barrett outlines in his book, is exactly what I experienced in real life at AEI/DMX.

I was lucky to have bosses who would collaborate instead of dictate, to have co-workers who would share, instead of compete, and to work in an atmosphere that encouraged individual creativity instead of corporate conformity. This collaborative, improvisational, and jazz-like approach, helped us create unique and compelling signature sounds for our customers.

But, it wasn’t all collegial bliss and Kumbaya. Sometimes there were rather vigorous disagreements, snarky comments, and system meltdowns. Sometimes, it seemed to be completely out of control; exactly the kind of creative “mess” that Barrett explores in his book.

To find out more; click here to read my USA Today book review of “Yes to The Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons From Jazz”, and here to order it from Amazon.com.

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