A little Dave Brubeck: “Blue Rondo”

This delightful Diana Krall piece from yesterday put me in mind of Dave Brubeck, with his large hands and his big ten-fingered chords.

Here’s the quartet doing their classic “Blue Rondo à la Turk” — one of their early time-change masterpieces in a 1962 television performance.

Watch for the big-hands chords during his solo, about 2:42 into the clip. And listen for (in my view) the sweetest woodwind player of the century, Paul Desmond.

Enjoy:

Can you count that piece? In beats, the first part is three measures of 9/4 (nine beats per measure) grouped three times as 2+2+2+3 (=9), and then one measure grouped as 3+3+3 (=9).

Listen for it — it’s not as complicated as it seems; it just goes by fast (for the ear, 2+2+2+3 sounds like this: 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2-3).

Then the piece shifts into a swinging 4/4, where 2 beats of the 9/4 become 1 beat of the 4/4. Smooth, yet fascinatingly complex in sound.

You should be able to easily hear the shift from 9/4 to 4/4. This is what made Brubeck Brubeck. (The immortal “Take Five” — in 5/4 natch — is from the same album.)

GP


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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