Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Faith of Dave Brubeck

Jazz musician Dave Brubeck died not long ago, at the ripe old age of 92. His ensemble offered a smooth jazz style that was my introduction to the genre, and I always enjoyed it. Listen to Take Five, courtesy of Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faJE92phKzI

As is so often the case with prominent figures, I learned more about Brubeck after his death than I ever knew while he was alive, including the depth of his Roman Catholic faith. These religious convictions were expressed through his sacred compositions. Read this from Sojourners Magazine:

Brubeck said his service in World War II convinced him "something should be done musically to strengthen man’s knowledge of God." That experience gave him the idea of an oratorio based on the Ten Commandments, particularly the "Thou shalt not kill" part.
But he did not act on the idea of writing sacred music until 1965, when he wrote a short piece, "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled," to comfort his brother, Howard, whose son had died of a brain tumor at age 16.That piece was incorporated into 1968’s "A Light in the Wilderness," his first full-scale sacred composition.
That was followed by a series of pieces including 1969’s "The Gates of Justice," a choral work using words from Martin Luther King, Jr.; "Truth is Fallen," in 1971; "La Fiesta de la Posada" in 1975; and "Beloved Son," in 1978.
"When I write a piece, a sacred piece, I’m looking hard and trying to discover what I’m about, and what my parents were about and the world is about," he told Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Brubeck also wrote a Roman Catholic mass called To Hope: A Celebration.  A great title for Advent, don't you think?


Do you know Brubeck's music? Were you aware of his Christian faith?

Take a look at my latest Groundling blog entry

1 comment:

IanD said...

That's so rad ... I didn't know that.

"Take Five" is such a cool song and album. That winding, slightly haunting saxophone line is unmistakeable. I heard a teenaged kid practising it in Long & McQuade not too long ago, and it literally froze people in their tracks as they sought to find out where it was coming from.