Who did Dave Brubeck play with?

Again and again «Take Five»

In 1998 the American jazz pianist Dave Brubeck last performed in St. Gallen. Its influence can still be felt today. Three St. Gallen jazz pianists tell what Brubeck means to them.

First the facts: Dave Brubeck, the American jazz pianist who died last week, has played a total of 18 times in Switzerland in the past few years. From 1996 until his last Swiss appearance on December 10, 2005 in the Zurich Tonhalle. “There were always great concerts,” recalls Johannes Vogel from the Zurich agency Allblues, which organized the concerts. Dave Brubeck only played once in St. Gallen, on May 23, 1998 in the Tonhalle.

A defining classic

Claude Diallo wasn't there at the time, but the St. Gallen pianist, who now lives in New York, heard Dave Brubeck live at the KKL in Lucerne a few years ago. "Brubeck is huge, as a jazz pianist you can't avoid him," says the 31-year-old. But at first Diallo could not do much with the American. “His kind of jazz was dusty when I started studying music,” says Diallo. To this day he has not dealt with his work in depth. Diallo admits, however, that Brubeck's legendary quartet, with which he celebrated great success in the 1950s, was very innovative and formative. And when asked about "Take Five", the quartet's biggest hit, Diallo said: "This song is a classic, and it will still be played in fifty years." Just last Friday he played “Take Five” himself, as part of a concert in Berneck. "I have a lot of respect for Dave Brubeck, but I don't try to imitate him."

A jazz musician for non-jazz musicians

It sounds similar from Josquin Rosset. “So far, his style has not moved me to study Dave Brubeck intensively,” says the St. Gallen jazz pianist. Maybe he'll make up for that. "When you hear his recordings, it immediately becomes clear: this is one of the really, really big ones." He also admires Brubeck's courage and his work against racism, says Rosset, alluding to the fact that the American canceled several television appearances in the 1950s because they did not want to show his black bass player in the picture.

For Josquin Rosset, Brubeck is “the jazz musician that every non-jazz musician knows”. As a jazz pianist you will be asked a hundred times in your life whether you can play “Take Five”. In this sense, Rosset has an ambivalent relationship to this piece, and it doesn't require any great manual dexterity on the piano: " is first and foremost an ingenious, remarkable drum performance."

A creative head musician

Urs C. Eigenmann is inspired by Dave Brubeck. The St. Gallen pianist attributes his composition “Déjà écouté” directly to him. The piece plays in five-quarter time, as does “Take Five”, and Eigenmann last recorded it in 2003 with his formation “off & out”. For him, Dave Brubeck was “a head musician, but an extremely creative one”. He sees him as a great pianist, as a researcher and an experimentalist. "Back then it was important to break new ground," says Eigenmann. However, he also criticizes the pleasant and comfortable in the compositions: "In my ears this is not a lively jazz that knocks you out."