When I was a child there were certain records we weren’t allowed to touch. We had a cornucopia of recordings of all kinds—45s, LPs, 78s, 7ips reel-to-reel tapes—that we could play, but there were a handful that were off limits. Most of them belonged to my mother, and, frankly, most of them didn’t interest me—Edith Piaf, Django Reinhardt, and the like. But there was one that did—a jazz album called Time Out featuring jazz pianist Dave Brubeck.
My musical interests as a young person were primitive, bizarre, and eclectic. I liked things that stood out from the ordinary wash of music that formed the background track to our suburban post-WWII lives. The rock n roll that enamored the kids I went to school with left me cold. I liked stuff that incorporated noise, unusual instruments, exotic-sounding rhythms…
It was probably the unusual time-signatures that made me like Time Out. Most of everything playing on the radio was in the same 4/4 time, with with occasional 3/4, 6/8, or 2/4 thrown in. The 5/4, 9/8, and alternating signatures were interesting, at least, and the feeling that the music gave at times that it was just about to head over the edge into pure madness, was, well, refreshing.
For reasons that remain obscure to me I didn’t ever buy my own copy of it on vinyl, though I did acquire some other Dave Brubeck albums. I bought my first copy of Time Out decades later, when the CD era was upon us, and I replaced a lot of my old vinyl, and consciously sought out music I’d liked but never owned. I still enjoy it, even though I’ve long given up my childish ambition of playing piano like Brubeck.
Anyway, I see in the news that Dave Brubeck has passed on. His heart stopped earlier today on his way to a doctor’s appointment. Tomorrow will be his 92nd birthday. Damn it.
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