Wednesday, March 14, 2007

For 50th anniversary, Monterey to honor favorite son Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck was there at the beginning, and he'll be the guest of honor this fall as The Monterey Jazz Festival holds the 50th edition of its groundbreaking event.

To kick off the publicity for the Sept. 21-23 event, festival organization will host a Golden Gala Celebration April 7, 2007 at the Tehama Golf Club in Carmel, California. The mayor of Monterey, Chuck Della Salla, has proclaimed that the week of April 8, 2007 will be Dave Brubeck week. Proceeds from the gala will go to support the festival's youth education program.

“Dave Brubeck is one of the reasons that the Monterey Jazz Festival exists,” said MJF General Manager Tim Jackson. “In 1958, Dave’s participation in getting us established and his performance at the first Festival is well-documented. Here we are, 50 years later, and his music still epitomizes the sound of jazz to the world. He is literally one of the icons of the art form. I think [MJF Founder] Jimmy Lyons would be extremely happy and proud to see that Dave is still composing and recording at age 86—and performing to packed houses.” Jackson added, “This award acknowledges the gratitude that the Festival and jazz fans from around the world feel for a man who has transcended the boundaries of what we expect a musician to be.”

Brubeck’s use of polytonality and odd meters set him apart from the rest of the “West Coast Cool” scene, and has been a hallmark of his style since the beginning of his career. One of the most popular albums in jazz was Brubeck’s “Time Out” released in 1960, featuring the iconic songs “Blue Rondo A La Turk” and “Take Five,” one of the most recognized instrumental songs of the 20th century. Jimmy Lyons, as a DJ in San Francisco, became an early champion of Brubeck, regularly playing Dave’s music on his radio show on KNBC. Lyons then booked Dave into Oakland’s Burma Lounge in 1949, Dave’s first influential gig. Brubeck played the first--and last--Monterey Jazz Festivals that Jimmy Lyons booked in 1958 and 1992.

Brubeck has been a longtime favorite at Monterey. 2007 will mark the 14th appearance at the festival for the 86-year-old pianist.

At the gala event, he will receive the festival's first MJF Legends Award. Entertainment at the event will be provided by the Jamie Davis Group, featuring the Bay Area vocalist who also sings with the Count Basie Orchestra. Tickets for the gala are $250. Visit the MJF website for more information.

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