Week 3: Featuring Dave Brubeck

Art Tatum discussed by Jazz Pianist Chick Corea

Fats Waller, on Art Tatum: "I only play the piano, but tonight God is in the house."

Drummer Jo Jones after recording in a trio with Art Tatum and bassist Red Callender: "I didn't even play on that session ... all I did was listen. I mean, what could I add? ... I felt like setting my damn drums on fire."

Dave Brubeck on Art Tatum: "I don't think there's any more chance of another Tatum turning up than another Mozart."

Oscar Peterson on Art Tatum: "Musically speaking, he was and is my musical God, and I feel honored to remain one of his humbly devoted disciples."

Jazz Pianist Kenny Barron: "I have every record [Tatum] ever made - and I try never to listen to them ... If I did, I'd throw up my hands and give up!"

Art Tatum playing "Yesterdays" on TV (1954), Spike Jones Show, NY

Yesterdays (1933), music by Jerome Kern

The Fabulous Dorseys (1947)

An all white band joins Art Tatum in the movie.

Reaching Across the Racial Divide

Hugh Hefner

Dave Brubeck

Leonard Bernstein

All in pre-civil rights times.

Alex Haley and his Interviews for Playboy
Brubeck Fights Racism

Images may be copyrighted.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Playboy Mansion (c. 1960), Chicago

Dave Brubeck (1920-2012) on piano, Eugene Wright (b. 1923) on bass,
Joe Morello (2928-2011) on drums, and Paul Desmond (1924-1977) on sax.

A Personal Story of Dave Brubeck's Kindness

Former UNCA Student Juggler Jerome Loftus meets Brubeck.

Lola and Dave Brubeck Earlier in Life

Dave (1920-2012) and Lola (1923-2014)

Early Timeline

Slaves, Sunday (Day Off) in Congo Square in New Orleans

Artist's Conception of Early 1800s by E. W. Kemble from a Century Later

William Christopher Handy (1873-1958), known as W. C. Handy, was a prolific jazz composer and musician. Just a Haydn takes center stage as a European composer of the classic period (1750-1800) in music, the black composer Handy is a key figure in jazz. Jazz developed around 1900 in New Orleans.

Haydn did not invent the sonata and Handy did not invent the blues. Yet, each composer wrote so many works using these respective forms that Haydn is often referred to as the "Father of the Sonata" and Handy as the the "Father of the Blues."

National Public Radio (NPR), February 15, 2005 from "Day to Day"
Profile: Recollections of W. C. Handy

NPR Radio (Tribute, 2005):

Full Radio Program

Early Jazz Singers

Ma Rainey (1886-1939)
Mother of the Blues
Bessie Smith (1894-1937)
Empress of the Blues
Victoria Spivey (1906-1976)
A Blues Queen

Run the mouse over the "Blues" matrix at the right. See if you can follow the blues formula as these musicians sing the blues. Hint: Count four beats for each measure and it is easy to follow through the 12-bar formula.

Ma Rainey
Mother of the Blues

Ma Rainey singing Traveling Blues (Early 1920s)

Note the first four measures with the same 1-flavor.

Bessie Smith
Empress of the Blues

Bessie Smith singing Jailhouse Blues

by Bessie Smith and Clarence Williams (1923)

Victoria Spivey
Blues Queen

Victoria Spivey singing Black Snake Blues, Recorded in 1961 (Spivey also on Piano)

A Blues Song (1926) by Victoria Spivey

In the last two measures, the 5-flavor appears in part.

Bernstein invites Black Musicians to perform
with his New York Philharmonic (1956)

W. C. Handy

Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong

Leonard Bernstein

St. Louis Blues and the New York Philharmonic (1956)

The Duke Ellington " Harmonic Tease" in Satin Doll (1953)

Duke Ellington (1899-1974)

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Duke Ellington and Satin Doll

Brubeck composed all but Take Five (Paul Desmond)
Strange Meadow Lark [4/4]
Take Five [5/4]
Unsquare Dance [7/4]
Bru's Boogie Woogie [8/8]
Blue Shadows in the Street [9/8]
Blue Rondo à la Turk [9/8 and 4/4]