cover image Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time

Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time

Philip Clark. Da Capo, $30 (416p) ISBN 978-0-306-92164-3

Music journalist Clark explores the life of composer and bandleader Dave Brubeck (1920–2012) in this concise but comprehensive biography. Culling from 10 days of interviews with the pianist in 2003, Clark analyses Brubeck’s music, citing the pianist’s “absorption in composition, the various ways in which composed music intersected with his unassailable belief in the urgency of improvisation, formed his approach to the piano—which became a laboratory in sound for this composer who improvised and improviser who composed.” The author further explores Brubeck’s 1959 odd meter masterpiece in 5/4 time, “Take Five”; the equally complex “Blue Rondo la Turk” and “It’s a Raggedy Waltz”; and his innovative concept albums, including Time Out and Jazz Impressions of Eurasia. Clark details fascinating points from Brubeck’s life—including studying classical music with Darius Milhaud at Mills College, his time in the army, his refusal to play in the segregated South because his black bassist was not allowed to be on the same stage, and performing with his sons later in life. Clark hits the right notes for die-hard Brubeck disciples and jazz neophytes alike. (Feb.)