Jazz great Dave Brubeck died yesterday, a day before his 92nd birthday. Along with much of the rest of the world, I was a fan. I have a sizeable record collection and found you could hardly go wrong with a Brubeck LP. I was curious how the obituaries would handle his sacred compositions and his religious life — including his reception into the Catholic Church.
In recent years, there has been some great journalism on this front. I first learned about this aspect of Brubeck from one of our own tmatt’s columns (from which I stole the headline above). It began:
Any jazz fan who has been paying attention at all during the past half century will recognize the quirky 5/4 riff that means the Dave Brubeck Quartet is swinging into its classic “Take Five.”
But there’s another tune the pianist keeps playing that is completely different. “Forty Days” opens with the haunting, chant-like lines that define the most famous piece in his first sacred oratorio, “The Light in the Wilderness.”