Hello Friend and Music Lover–

Just heard the news about long time Jazz Great Dave Brubeck passing away earlier today.

This is very sad news for me, mostly because he was one of the few Jazz figures who forced me to continue to explore Jazz music during my lifetime.  This is not to say I’m not a “big” fan of Jazz, but more to say, that it was those handful of delightful Brubeck tunes, like “Blue Rondo a la Turk”, and of course “Take Five”, which encouraged me to listen to Jazz with more of an open mind, than most any music I’ve ever explored.  And admittedly, some of it I love and some of it I hate more than I would ever care to express.  But I still take the time to listen.

Brubeck has a long, long history, and if you didn’t know, he was born in Concord, California.  For my overseas and non-Bay Area friends reading this, Concord is a stone’s throw away from San Leandro (about 20-25 miles), and it always made laugh to think or say, “Wow..this Jazz great was born in Concord?  Jazz musicians aren’t born in Concord!!”.
(For more on Brubeck life and history, with clips of “Take Five” and others, see this cool Yahoo article:  http://music.yahoo.com/blogs/stop-the-presses/world-mad-brubeck-dave-brubeck-1920-2012-180310597.html   )

Back in the mid-1980s, I pursued a career working in the local Bay Area Radio Business.  And with this, I landed an internship at KFOG-104.5 FM in San Francisco (Yeh..the Classic Rock Station).  I got to know quite a few of the deejays, and was always offering to help, mostly to broaden my radio knowledge, but also to widen my knowledge of all of the music I could hear!

At the time, there was a wonderful deejay at KFOG called “Dusty Rhodes” (her real name is Jessica…forgotten her last name after all of these years!!) who was the host of a Sunday Morning ‘Jazz Request Show’ at the radio station.  I would get up at 4:30am Sunday mornings, drive to San Francisco in my old 1967 Chevy, with no traffic on the Bay Bridge, in the cold, half asleep, to help her by answering the phones, and taking requests for the show, and pulling those records from KFOG’s Jazz Library.  This was long before the internet, and everything was done by hand.  And if by chance, or just because people loved “Take Five” so much (probably the latter), there would always be several requests to play the song. So, at some point on the show EVERY Sunday morning, we’d feature the track.  We couldn’t get away from it.

I can remember talking to Dusty about the song, and how it just seemed to be one which people couldn’t hear enough.  ‘I’ve heard that track 1000s of times”, she once told me, “..but I still hear something new every time I hear it”.  And she’s absolutely right.  Over 25 years later, I still hear her voice every time I hear or play the song.  And there’s always something new being revealed to my ears in the performance.  I have found for any music lover like myself, that this is one of the true reasons why one must learn to appreciate the “Genius of Jazz”, even if you don’t “get” the music at times!

And with this, on this DESKTOP JUKEBOX, I’ve attached “Take Five” and “Blue Rondo a al Turk” and encourage you to download them both and keep them in your Music Folder (or other folder–Mine’s called “Pete’s Jukebox” –WHAT ELSE WOULD IT BE!! HA!!!) on your Desktop and give them a listen from time to time.  More importantly, as many of you are parents or know “younger” music lovers, I encourage you to play or to send one or both of these tracks for them to hear.  In the fast moving world we live in today, where much of our media culture is chewed up and spit out and then off to next’s weeks flavor…I think it’s important to reveal these amazing works to the younger minds.  And who knows…it might just open a few doors for them in their appreciation of something more “classic”, rather than the disposable things they’re mostly exposed to nowadays. I think most of you know what I mean.

My hat goes off to Dave Brubeck for indirectly opening my ears.  I must also mention his great Sax player Paul Desmond (the composer of “Take Five”), his brilliant Bass player Eugene Wright and the great Joe Morello on the Drums.  The combination of these four musicians truly created something magical, which many will concur, lasts today, and will probably last indefinitely.

And I must also mention a few others, like my brother Demetrios, the incredible Mr. Grant in the UK, my good friend Steve (at Kaiser), and also my good friend Tim (Yeh..the one I call “Tim in San Mateo”)…for these people have also opened my ears to so many great artists and their music.  This is probably the best gift anyone could give another person.

Enjoy the music.  Let the music take you away!!