Saying goodbye to a friend, legend
Dec 06, 2012 (The Record - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
How would you feel if a friend died
On Wednesday morning, Stockton Symphony maestro Peter Jaffe shared his emotions over the death of legendary American jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck.
With awe in his voice, he tried to convey how special it was that someone of Brubeck's world-renowned stature would foster a lasting relationship, not just with himself, but with Stockton.
-- On Take Five: "I'm going to move over to the piano and play something for you. Listen to this. Do you hear that That's the opening to 'Take Five.' To have a snippet of music like that, which is instantly recognizable, is such a rarity."
-- On hoarding: "I was put on a committee, the Brubeck Advisory Collection Committee. We wanted to store their archive here at University of the Pacific. There was a lot of competition, but they chose us because of (Dave's) roots as a student here. Dave and his wife, Iola, it became very apparent, never threw anything away. There was correspondence with jazz greats, pictures, music manuscripts, all kinds of signed copies of vinyl, and, by the way, some love letters between Dave and Iola that contained some pretty hot stuff."
-- About civil rights: "He was an incredible humanitarian. He was one of the first to insist on fighting racial prejudice in the music world. When there were places that wouldn't allow African-Americans, he would refuse those gigs. He actively promoted equality and fairness. I think he took a stand in a way few people did. We are talking about back in the '40s and the '50s."
Integrating jazz into classical forms: "Dave could take inspirations from such diverse sources as Bach, Stravinsky, and Duke Ellington and mix 'em all up, and turn them on their heads, and wind up with something that was totally Dave."
-- Dealing with fame: "Dave was the type of person that would make you feel very comfortable. He was very accessible. He would call me on the phone. He had a wonderful gentle humor to him, but he was quite humble. I think back to a discussion in 2001; Dave said, 'I just hope you won't forget me.' I said, 'Are you nuts Are you kidding ' The thought he would be forgotten was ludicrous. But that was one of the great things about him. People can have an aura of greatness about them and be very gentle."
-- Final thoughts: "There's so much to continue to celebrate. He has left us an enormous legacy and we are going to be eternally grateful. He was an incredible colleague and friend. He was a wonderful genius with whom to work. I am sort of reeling. I will dedicate Duke Ellington's 'swing' version of the 'Nutcracker Suite' to Dave in our upcoming Holiday Pops with the Stockton Symphony -- especially appropriate since Dave had a great relationship with the Duke in his early years."
Contact reporter Jo Ann Kirby at (209) 546-8256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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