Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Dave Brubeck Quartet and Bill Smith at the Earshot Jazz Festival

Dave Brubeck
a shot from the 2001 San Francisco Jazz Festival

Dave Brubeck’s love of surprises took interesting turns in this final event of the 2001 Earshot Jazz Festival. He explained to the packed house at Seattle’s beautifully restored Paramount Theater that the concert got underway late because he had trouble getting his sidemen to leave the backstage television set and the final game of the World Series. Then he said that he would play something the band had never heard from him.

After a long introduction that could have come from a 1930s Harlem rent party, Brubeck launched into “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” at the tempo of a fast walk. Bassist Michael Moore and drummer Randy Jones grinned and shook their heads. Bobby Militello used his flute to take a cut at an imaginary fastball. It may have seemed an unlikely choice, but the tune’s changes worked nicely for improvisation. Brubeck played several choruses before Militello, on alto saxophone, and Moore soloed at length, finding gutbucket possibilities that Jack Norworth could not have imagined when he wrote the song in 1908.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published