Friday, December 16, 2011

RIP Bob Brookmeyer (1929-2011)

Bob Brookmeyer has died three days before his 82nd birthday. He was an absolute favourite of mine, possibly my favourite musician in all jazz. Why? Because I liked the way he swang, and his sound, and his arrangements, and his wit, and his intellect, which he applied to arrangements and to solos full of ideas and melody. The previous post mentioned a couple of tunes worth checking out with Stan Getz, "Rustic Hop", an original that will lift your spirit unless you're dead, and "Varsity Drag", where he begins his solo with a very simple phrase (first he plays a major third, then a minor third) that will swing your socks off.

There are already some voices wondering why he was not given more recognition. I'd say that, beyond jazz, because this music doesn't amount to much. Sad but true. But within jazz, and this is even sadder, possibly because his long career didn't fit any styles, those very rigid boxes critics and fans of this music, allegedly of a progressive and open-minded persuasion, have created and are so comfortable with.

I already wrote about Brookmeyer some time ago, and you'll find some interesting video footage there. Some years ago I spoke briefly to him, and he told me that Gloomy Sunday was his favourite among his own recordings, where he shared the arranging chores with some esteemed colleagues, such as Ralph Burns.

You can also tune in to Indian Public Radio's David Brent Johnson's Night Lights devoted to Brookmeyer for a nice selection of his work by David with a little help of yours truly. Even better is the NPR Jazz Profile on his 70th birthday, produced by Bill Kirchner.

Bye, Mr. Brookmeyer, and thanks for so many good moments.

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