Dave Brubeck at Monterey: Part 5

2002-2009

The Festival, already under the guidance of General Manager Tim Jackson for a decade by 2002, brought Brubeck back to Monterey four times between that year and 2009, equal to the number of Brubeck's performances at Monterey in the 1960s.

In 2002, Dave performed three times – on the Grounds with sons Chris and Danny in Dizzy’s Den, and he reprised his one-on-one talk with Herb Wong. In the Arena, there was a restaging of The Real Ambassadors to celebrate its 40th Anniversary, and featured the Quartet, Roy Hargrove, and Christian McBride. Its message was timely. “When the world is so ready to explode, we’ve got to keep talking with people around the world,” Dave said to the San Francisco Chronicle.

In 2006, there was another Brubeck double header – a Quartet appearance, followed by Dave and Iola’s debut of their newest work, the Cannery Row Suite. Featuring a cast of characters straight from John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name, the jazz-theater-opera-multimedia opus included sea chanteys, 12-tone rows, and arias that showcased vocalists Kurt Elling and Roberta Gambarini. “The audience [rises] to its feet en masse, and they remain standing for some minutes as the ensemble replays the overture as a recap. Dave and Iola Brubeck are ecstatic,” wrote Forrest Dylan Bryant for the blog Jazz Observer. “Once again, they have triumphed at Monterey.”

For the Festival’s 50th anniversary in 2007, how could Dave not play? That year featured many artists who appeared at the first Festival, and included colossus Sonny Rollins and guitarist Jim Hall, who appeared as a special guest with the Quartet. Earlier in 2007, Monterey had begun a new tradition with the Jazz Legends Gala, which honors a leader in the jazz field. The first award went to Dave Brubeck.

Left: Clint Eastwood and Dave Brubeck at the inaugural Jazz Legends Gala on April 4, 2007. ©Monterey Jazz Festival / Craig Lovell

The Quartet’s final appearance on Sunday, September 20, 2009 was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Time Out, which, in typical Brubeck fashion, was celebrated by playing the music of Duke Ellington. “His ageless appeal caused fans to sigh dreamily during his Ellington medley, sit in reverent silence to avoid missing even a single, expertly played note and erupt with whistles and applause for his ‘Take Five’ classic,” wrote Imani Tate for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Brubeck was also awarded an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music, which, ironically, Berklee first presented to Ellington in 1971.

MJF45: Friday – Sunday, September 20-22, 2002

Dave Brubeck & Sons: Dave Brubeck, piano; Chris Brubeck, bass and trombone; Dan Brubeck, drums

Brubeck on Brubeck: A Chat with a Jazz Legend / Dave Brubeck and Herb Wong

40th Anniversary of The Real Ambassadors: Dave Brubeck Quartet: Bobby Militello, saxophone; Dave Brubeck, piano; Michael Moore, bass; Randy Jones, drums; with Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride, Byron Stripling, Lizz Wright, Chris Brubeck, Lynn Fiddmont, Lamont VanHook, Fred White. Hosted by Clint Eastwood

The Real Ambassadors…features some dazzling fast harmonized singing before the Satchmo character sings his story: 

All I do is play the blues
And meet the people face to face
I represent the human race
And don't pretend no more

In my humble way
I'm the USA
Though I represent the government
The government don't represent some policies I'm for.

There was irony in Armstrong's voice ‘but never anger,’ says Brubeck, who was pleased that festival director Tim Jackson suggested doing this piece. ‘It gives audiences a chance to see what Louis and I and Iola were up to. I want the public to know how important cultural exchange still is. When the world is so ready to explode, we've got to keep talking with people around the world.’" — Jesse Hamlin, San Francisco Chronicle, September 19, 2002

“Brubeck – clad in a white jacket, his nimble fingers dancing over the keys – led his ensemble through a particularly spry 50 minutes, forgoing familiar material for the adventurous.” – Brian McCoy, Stockton Record, September 24, 2002

“Dave Brubeck was a constant presence throughout this year’s festival…the 81-year old played with undiminished energy, creativity and enthusiasm, tearing into ‘St. Louis Blues’ with some heated stride piano.” – Scott Yanow, 2002

“In 1992, [Monterey] was special because it was Dave and Iola’s 50th anniversary [September 21], so all sorts of Brubecks were there. In 2002, when we did the 40th anniversary of The Real Ambassadors, it was their 60th anniversary. And when they first did the show in 1962, it was their 20th anniversary. In 2002, we checked into the hotel suite and there was this huge package sitting on the coffee table. Really, really big. So I opened it, and I looked down and said, ‘Oh. My. God.’ I pulled out the Lombardi Trophy from the St. Louis Rams. The owner of the Rams loved us, and they had won the Superbowl [in 1999]. And so for an anniversary present, she had given them a Lombardi Trophy. It was a legitimate Lombardi Trophy, not a copy, it was the real thing. What I remember most about it was the room service waiter coming in, seeing it, and dropping the tray.”Russell Gloyd, Brubeck’s producer, manager and conductor, August 27, 2013


Dave Brubeck at MJF45, 2002. ©Mars Breslow

 

MJF49: Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dave Brubeck Quartet: Bobby Militello, saxophone; Dave Brubeck, piano; Michael Moore, bass; Randy Jones, drums

Cannery Row Suite: Dave Brubeck Quartet: Bobby Militello, saxophone; Dave Brubeck, piano; Michael Moore, bass; Randy Jones, drums; with Kurt Elling, Roberta Gambarini, Chris Brubeck, Peter “Madcat” Ruth, Joel Brown, plus musicians and singers from University of the Pacific

 

Read Dave Brubeck's Program Notes
for the Cannery Row Suite

Read the "Brubeck on Steinbeck" article
from the 2006 program by Jeff Kaliss

“[The Cannery Row Suite], whose lyrics were written by Brubeck’s wife, Iola, was like Cannery Row itself –Raw, vibrant and rough around the edges.”  – Mac McDonald, Monterey County Herald, September 18, 2006

“The audience [rises] to its feet en masse, and they remain standing for some minutes as the ensemble replays the overture as a recap. Dave and Iola Brubeck are ecstatic. Once again, they have triumphed at Monterey.” – Forrest Dylan Bryant, fojazz.com

“…Brubeck’s suite was both inspirational and whimsical…it offered stone gorgeous arias and a rousing sea chantey that could well be picked up by the Monterey Chamber of Commerce – “Monterey! Monterey! A hell of a place to work and to play!” – Paul de Barros, Seattle Times, September 19, 2006


Cannery Row Suite, MJF49, 2006. ©Monterey Jazz Festival / Cole Thompson


Dave Brubeck, Roberta Gambarini and Rossell Gloyd at the end of the Cannery Row Suite, MJF49, 2006. ©Monterey Jazz Festival / Craig Lovell


Russell Gloyd and Iola Brubeck after the Cannery Row Suite, MJF49, 2006. ©Monterey Jazz Festival / Craig Lovell

MJF50: Sunday, September 23, 2007

Dave Brubeck Quartet: Bobby Militello, saxophone; Dave Brubeck, piano; Michael Moore, bass; Randy Jones, drums; Special Guest: Jim Hall, guitar

“When Brubeck floats into ‘Diana,’ the delight on the faces of these grand jazz veterans in playing together on this grand stage is evident…he moves next into a haunting, ethereal number that has this packed open-air arena rapt and silent…and the three-quarters moon pours a light down on the house that seems to glow the brighter at Brubeck’s bidding.” – Jerry Karp, Jazzwest.com, September 24, 2007

“[Brubeck] gave us exactly what we hoped for: elegant, swinging jazz under the stars. Midway through his set, Brubeck introduced guest Jim Hall, who had also been at the first Festival. “We haven’t had a chance to play one note together,” Brubeck said, “but we’ll start in right now.” Hall opened with the first sweet notes of “All the Things You Are” and Brubeck’s quartet made a perfect entry. Everyone on stage had silver hair. At one point, I was struck by how extraordinary it was that in an open-air stadium filled with thousands of metal chairs, Brubeck was able to play a solo so quiet it seemed he was whispering in my ear.” – Pamela Espeland, Jazzpolice.com, September 27, 2007


Dave Brubeck at MJF 50, 2007. ©Monterey Jazz Festival / Cole Thompson

MJF52: Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dave Brubeck Quartet: Bobby Militello, saxophone; Dave Brubeck, piano; Michael Moore, bass; Randy Jones, drums

“‘I told my group we would play Ellington,’ Brubeck says by way of introduction, ‘and asked them to please just follow me wherever I go.’ A lively ‘C-Jam Blues’ segues into ‘Mood Indigo’ and ‘Take the A-Train.’  They don’t play like young men, they don’t have the speed or the elasticity, but they play like the pros they are, with joy and generosity and mastery. And Militello still blows like a typhoon.” –Pamela Espeland, Jazz.com, September 22, 2009

“The admiration for [Brubeck] held true and solid. His ageless appeal caused fans to sigh dreamily during his Ellington medley, sit in reverent silence to avoid missing even a single, expertly played note and erupt with whistles and applause for his ‘Take Five’ classic.” – Imani Tate, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, October 9, 2009


Dave Brubeck Quartet, MJF52, 2009. ©Walter Wagner


Clint Eastwood and Berklee College of Music president Roger H. Brown present Dave Brubeck with an honorary doctorate at MJF52, 2009. ©Monterey Jazz Festival / Craig Lovell

GO TO POSTSCRIPT: 2013