The Brubeck Festival 2007
The theme of the Brubeck Festival 2007 was "Words with Music" and focused to a great extent on the work that Iola Brubeck has done for many years as a collaborator with Dave. Many of the works played and sung were the work of this remarkable team over the course of many decades.
The opening concert was entitled “Classical – Contemporary – Jazz!” and featured three distinct performances. First was a magnificent recital by bass Kevin Deas with pianist Margaret Perry, featuring works by Mendelssohn, Mozart, Bach, and the premier of “Prayer of St. Francis” by Dave Brubeck. The recital concluded with a stunning unaccompanied performance of the spiritual “There is a Balm in Gilead”. Kevin was the recipient of the 2007 Brubeck Institute Award for Distinguished Achievement. The second portion of the evening featured the premier of a work commissioned by the Brubeck Institute. It was Robert Coburn’s remarkable “Fragile Horizon”, a work for spoken voice, viola, computer generated sounds, and video. The performers were Robert Coburn – computer & video, Ellen Ruth Rose – viola, and Stewart Troupe – voice. Julia Dollison, voice, and Geoff Keezer, piano, concluded the evening with a wonderful set of jazz standards and originals.
The centerpiece concert of the Festival was on Friday evening in Faye Spanos Concert Hall. The first half of the program was entitled “The Dave Brubeck Songbook” and featured the Dave Brubeck Quartet with the wonderful Roberta Gambarini singing nine songs by Dave and Iola Brubeck. The second half showcased the “Cannery Row Suite” commissioned by and first performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September 2006. The work consists of a series of songs based on characters from the John Steinbeck novel about Monterey in the 1930s and ‘40s. The music is by Dave Brubeck, lyrics by Iola Brubeck, and the opening and closing narration was done by Thomas Steinbeck. The performers included the Dave Brubeck Quartet – Dave Brubeck, piano, Michael Moore, bass, Randy Jones, drums, and Bobby Militello, alto sax; Triple Play – Chris Brubeck on vocals, bass trombone, and electric bass, Joel Brown on vocals and guitar, and Peter Madcat Ruth on vocals and harmonica; vocal soloists Jessica Siena as Dora, Daniel Ebbers as Doc, and Chris Brubeck as Mack; the Flophouse Gang with members of Pacific Opera Theatre; and special guests Roberta Gambarini and members of the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet. James Haffner was the stage director, Randall Enlow designed the set, and Russell Gloyd was the conductor.
The Brubeck Festival Symposium was entitled “Words with Music” and featured a panel discussion on the use of words with music from the perspectives of the composer, librettist, arranger, and creative interpreter. Panelists included Iola Brubeck, Russell Gloyd, Kevin Deas, Robert Coburn, Julia Dollison, Roberta Gambarini, and Chris Brubeck, with moderator, David Chase. Russell Gloyd also did a presentation on “The Sacred Music of Dave Brubeck” illustrated with both written and recorded examples of the music. The Stockton Symphony Orchestra with the choirs of the Conservatory of Music and the Stockton Chorale, all under the direction of Maestro Peter Jaffe, celebrated their 80th anniversary by performing the Beethoven Symphony No. 9 and the premier of Chris Brubeck’s newly commissioned work for orchestra and chorus called Music is the Power.
The Brubeck Archive Exhibit was called “A Script in Time: Iola Brubeck as Lyricist” and featured items from the University Library Department of Special Collections that reflected Iola’s writings for Dave’s compositions. The Brubeck Festival 2007 concluded with a concert called “Jazz on the Mile!” performed outdoors on the Miracle Mile and featuring the Young Sounds of San Joaquin directed by Keith Kelly, Pacific Jazz Ensemble directed by Patrick Langham, Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet, San Joaquin Delta College Monday Night Jazz Band directed by Brian Kendrick, and the Capital Jazz Project with Joe Gilman.
The Brubeck Festival 2007 was produced and directed by Steve Anderson, Director of the Brubeck Institute and former Dean of the Conservatory of Music.