Dave Brubeck died today.
I spent the summer of 1970 living in a house in Indianapolis that had no television, no books and no radio. It did have a phonograph, and three records: the Jackson 5’s newly released ABC album, an album of radical brothers Daniel and Philip Berrigan reciting poetry (“Wild strawberries are…………hard to find!), and the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Take Five.
I got tired of listening to the Berrigans and the Jacksons pretty quickly — the last brother act that impressed me were the Marx boys — but I never got tired of listening to Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Joe Morello and Eugene Wright.
Blue Rondo a la Turk, Take 5, Three to Get Ready, Strange Meadow Lark and the rest were the music of most of that summer until I finally bought a radio and discovered Edwin Starr’s War which became my theme song for a long time after.
Indianapolis was a strange place. Down the block there was a house with a large anti-aircraft type weapon on the front lawn. Being the curious sort, I knocked on the door and asked about the big gun.
“I’m ready for when the Commies come. Yes sir, I am.”:
Little did he know he was talking to the closest person to a Communist he was likely to run into.
I was there to work on the Senate re-election campaign of Vance Hartke, the liberal Democrat not ashamed to be a liberal or a Democrat. We need many more men and women like him.
But I digress.
There really is no point to this post. It is not about teaching, not about learning, not about anything except the memory of the man who opened my mind to jazz and life in a different rhythm.