v LISTEN! 1
I The nonopmttt-maklng Glasgow-based music organisation Coda is back in business after a lengthy hush from that quarter. An annual fee of£10 per year entitles members to a discount card which is accepted at shops like Sound Control and Tower and some PA hire companies, and reduced rates for rehearsal and recording at certain West Coast studios. This year, Coda plans to open premises with rehearsal rooms and equipment. and arrange tuition in many aspects of music work, from drum programming to management. One useful role that they're performing at the moment is a ﬁlter for certain small venues in the Glasgow area, thus freeing their managers from the task of sorting through piles of demo tapes to decide who to invite to play (Coda are particularly interested in hearing from dance acts). Plans are afoot for an industry-attended open day in the University in mid-November. Coda can be reached c/o SRC. John Maclntyre Building, University Avenue. Glasgow G20 800.
I Music for the people in Glasgow on Saturday 24. Scottish CND are holding a rally there on that day. which assembles at the People‘s Palace at 11am and proceeds towards George Square at noon. The groups appearing between 12.30 and 3pm are The Hermon Batista Group, Oranjees, Solomon Flynn and The Humpff Family.
I The Larch. a band from Viewpark, were judged the victors of a Battle Of The Bands contest held at Motherwell Town Hall last month. The musical slugfest took up a total of
Joe Alexander examines the appeal ofDave Brubeck.
Pianist and composer Dave Brubeck won’t see 70 again. but the years are resting surprisingly lightly on his shoulders. His quartet played Aberdeen last year. and now return for concerts in the Central Belt. part of Assembly Direct‘s latest UK-wide sponsored promotion. which takes its name, the Fiat Tipo Take Five Jazz Tour. from Brubeck‘s most famous tune.
His early explorations in a highly textured style were accused of being influenced by the nonet recordings of 1949—50 issued under Miles Davis's name (Gerry Mulligan. incidentally, has just re-recorded those famous sessions as Re-Birth Of The Cool), which in turn were said to have given birth to Cool Jazz, a label which stuck obstinately to Brubeck‘s quartet.
‘The label “Cool” was stuck on us. but I think a lot of the things we played in the early 1950s were the antithesis of cool. The quartet might have sounded cool on ballads. but we didn‘t play ballads all the time. It has bothered me that people have said my octet was a c0py of Miles‘s band, but I started that group in 1946, and Miles didn‘t put out a record with the nonet until 1949, so we couldn‘t have heard them.‘
The answer, it seems, lies in synchronicity, with musicians exploring analogous ideas on opposite coasts of America at a time when those ideas have ripened. The California-based Brubeck admits that he deliberately avoided listening to Lennie Tristano. one of the great didactic intelligences in post-war jazz. for fearofbeing overtly influenced.
He formed his quartet with saxophonist Paul Desmond in 1951. and went on to become a star ofthe 50$ jazz scene by cracking an audience which had not really taken to jazz in the past, the college campus circuit. The quartet played an accessible but stimulating brand ofmodern jazz which, like that ofthe Modern Jazz Quartet (who play Aberdeen the night after Brubeck‘s Glasgow gig), offered a less fearsome prospect to the untutored ear than the furious tempos and torrential notes of bebop.
In many ways. they represented the acceptable face ofjazz for a large white audience. Their music drew its strength from a lucid. carefully structured attention to harmonic complexity. and a trademark fascination with unusual time signatures. which shrugged offthe predictability of—lr-l metre in favour
of complex but pleasing polyrhythms.
The major breakthrough came with Time Out in 195‘). They had built a solid reputation by then. and he had found a drummer ‘who could play the time signatures I wanted” in Joe Morello. Indeed. it was he who came up with the initial idea for the tune which was to become their anthem.
‘Joe always warmed up with a drum pad backstage. and one night I heard him and Paul playing together in 5/4 time. Paul had these two eight-bar
themes he hadn‘t put together. and I came up with a bridge. The weird thing is that they put the wrong take ofthe tune on the album. and l have never been able to trace the one we wanted to use.‘
Wrong take or not. "Take Five‘ was a massive success as a single (Desmond. credited as composer. ultimately left the royalties to the Red Cross on his death in 1977). and launched the huge-selling album which Columbia were initially I reluctant to release. fearing that the record-buying public would shunﬂ
28 The List 9 - 22 October 1992