Thursday, 6 December 2012

Top 102 Albums. No 86. Jazz Goes to College.

Top 102 Albums. No 86.
Jazz Goes to College. The Dave Brubeck Quartet

I am late with today's instalment and had an album in my head but when I read the news of Dave Brubeck's death I figured that it was time for this album to make an appearance. When I was younger jazz both attracted me and made me slightly uncomfortable. There is just so much of it. How could you establish a foothold on the lower reaches of the foothills?  Well like everything in life all you can do is take small steps and hope that they are the first steps in an interesting journey.

My first steps were to buy an album of Louis Armstrong music form the twenties and this. I loved both and have since purchased quite a few more jazz albums. They are only a very small portion of my collection but  an important part. I am not a theorist when it comes to music, nor a musician. I don't pretend to know when something is revolutionary or technically brilliant. I just try to listen without prejudice and follow my instincts. Brubeck I find less challenging than others, but still satisfying. I wonder of it is just that college is in the title but these pieces have always seemed thoughtful, slightly intellectual  to me. I like to think of myself as thoughtful and slightly intellectual every now and then so this album has been played regularly ever since I bought it.

Much prefer this earlier cover.
Perfect for late nights this makes me want to reverse my puritan tendencies and fill a glass with whisky and open a new pack of cigarettes and lie back in the comfortable armchair and just let the music carry me away. I make do with the armchair, tea and biscuits, something I am glad of the next morning. And when I close my eyes I can taste the whisky and slowly draw the nicotine smoke across my tender palate. Ahh, that's jazz.

Dave Brubeck R.I.P.


  1. One can only hope that for consistency's sake, you'll be following this pick up with the 1982 hardcore/pop punk classic Milo Goes to College by the Descendents. Of course, all of that album's songs are probably only a fifth of the length of Dave Brubeck's.

    1. I was thinking perhaps The Student Prince, or The Graduate? But, looking over my list so far, I do think It's time to embrace some noise!

  2. Brubeck's 'Take Five' 33 was always the album that my dad made me take special care of when I was a kid; therefore afforded that reverence when I listened to it. It was of course both exotic and impenetrable to my young cloth ears. I remember the pleasure taken from being able to keep time drumming along smugly (thigh slappingly) to the 5/4 of the title track whilst my siblings struggled...
    My entry to the genre was Armstrong too; joining the dots through his work with Ella Fitzgerald; the easy charms of Dexter Gordon's ballads then the inevitable challenges of Miles (Kind of Blue) and Coltrane (Favorite Things). I love jazz, still don't 'get it'; best to just soak it up; like a hob nob in a mug o' tea... love that picture of you; although no mention of a 'nice' black polo neck jumper...?

    1. Be careful, even hobnobs will eventually disintegrate in tea.
      I did own a black polo neck once! But I never risked a goatee nor a pipe and my slippers are hobnailed. #morebootboythanjazzer, as they say on Twitter.

  3. Hob nailed slippers!
    Hair shirt pyjamas?
    Benefit of all these 'guilty pleasures'?