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For his 85th birthday, Dave Brubeck threw a little party - in the recording studio.
Joining the jazz pianist were saxophonist Bobby Militello, bassist Michael Moore, and drummer Randy Jones, and the resulting studio session, "London Flat, London Sharp," was released last month by Telarc Records.
Brubeck will be at Bowling Green State University tonight to attend, but not perform in, a concert that will feature the premier of two of his compositions, "Love Flows from God," commissioned and performed by the university's Men's Chorus, and "I Dream a World Fugue," performed by the A Cappella Choir. Directing will be William Skoog, BGSU's choral activities director.
Brubeck said the title of his "London Flat, London Sharp" CD was inspired by a comment made during a 1998 concert tour of Great Britain.
"We had been on a longer-than-usual tour on the Continent and were anxious to get home. I had almost forgotten that we still had a bus tour of England in front of us. When I complained, the promoters explained that next week everyone would be in a London flat, to which I responded, 'That would be sharp.'"
The tune features Brubeck playing up the piano scales with his right hand, playing sharps, and down the scale with his left hand, playing flats.
Brubeck wrote nine of the 10 songs on the new disc, including several new interpretations of tunes he had recorded years ago. Notable among his remakes is "Ballad of the Rhine," which Brubeck wrote the day that his Army unit crossed the Rhine River in 1945, the beat inspired by the rhythms of the tanks and trucks as they crossed the bridge.
The only non-Brubeck composition on the new CD is "Steps to Peace," which was written by Derrill Bodley for his daughter who was aboard the hijacked airliner that crashed in rural Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.
Brubeck, who was born in Concord, Calif., on Dec. 6, 1920, became known for the thoughtful, swinging jazz style known as West Coast Cool in the early 1950s.
Two Dave Brubeck compositions will be premiered in a concert at 8 tonight in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center at Bowling Green State University. Tickets are $5 for students and senior citizens and $8 for the general public. Information: 419-372-8171 or 1-800-589-2224.
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