The Brubeck Festival 2006
As you will see on the cover of the commemorative program for the Brubeck Festival 2006 that is pictured here, the festival had the theme title, "The Times of Dave Brubeck". This title referenced two things. First, the Holt-Atherton Special Collections in the University Library premiered a new exhibit about Brubeck and his influence on music and history in the lobby of the University Library. Titled "The Times of Dave Brubeck" the exhibit highlighted Brubeck's jazz and classical works, as well as his commitment to civil rights and jazz diplomacy during the Cold War. This interactive traveling exhibit is available for display at museums, libraries, and other venues.
The other important reference this title makes is to the relationship of several Brubeck recordings and art. As many will recall, there has been a great relationship between contemporary visual artists and the work of Dave Brubeck. Several of the Dave Brubeck Quartet's most outstanding albums used modern paintings as cover art, including the work of Neil Fujita on Time Out, Joan Miro on Time Further Out, Franz Kline on Time in Outer Space, and Sam Francis on Time Changes. The Institute is deeply grateful to Herb Alpert, the remarkable musician, businessman, philanthropist, and visual artist for allowing us to continue in this tradition by using his painting Tango Americana for The Times of Dave Brubeck.
Unlike most of the past festivals, the Brubeck Festival 2006 focused primarily on jazz, and jazz done in diverse ways. The opening concert was by The David Grisman Quintet. For over 40 years, mandolinist/composer Grisman has been busy creating "dawg" music, a blend of many stylistic influences including swing, bluegrass, Latin, jazz, and gypsy. In doing so, he has inspired a whole new genre of acoustic instrumental music with style and virtuosity. The concert was a virtuosic tour de force. The next night featured The Young Sounds of San Joaquin under the direction of Brian Kendrick and the Pacific Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Patrick Langham, with the amazing Bobby Watson on alto sax as the guest soloist for both bands.
The Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet opened the Wednesday night performance with a surprise guest, the one and only Dave Brubeck featured on his masterpiece, Blue Rondo a la Turk. The second half of the evening featured the incomparable Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. The evening was spectacular, the music was widely varied in style, and the audience was thrilled with the amazing performance of both the very young and the well established veteran musicians. The Friday evening performance was by the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band. The Faye Spanos Concert Hall rocked from beginning to end and the audience danced in the aisles! It was an amazing week of nighttime concerts.
There were two other highlights to the week. First, John Salmon, the recipient of the 2006 Brubeck Institute Award for Distinguished Achievement, performed a stunning recital of solo piano works by Dave Brubeck. The pieces included Glances (1976), Bluette, It's a Raggy Waltz, Prelude from Points on Jazz, Three to Get Ready, and Unisphere. The audience was thrilled by Dr. Salmon's exceptional performance of Dave's extraordinary music.
The Brubeck Festival Symposium was entitled "The Piano Masters" & "Influences and Social Implications of Jazz and the Music of Dave Brubeck." The event began with a screening of a new PBS documentary film called "The Piano Masters" featuring Dave Brubeck and Dr. Billy Taylor, hosted by Ramsey Lewis. It was produced by Larry Rosen. The distinguished panelists for the discussion that followed included Larry Rosen of Larry Rosen Productions, GRP Records, and LRSmedia; Howard S. Becker, 2006 Brubeck Festival Scholar and world renowned sociologist; musician David Grisman; Russell Gloyd, Brubeck's conductor and producer; Robert Benedetti, director of the Harold S. Jacoby Center for Public Service and Civic Leadership; and the session was moderated by David Chase, assistant dean of the Conservatory of Music.
The Brubeck Festival 2006 was produced and directed by Steve Anderson, Director of the Brubeck Institute and Dean of the Conservatory of Music.