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A tribute to the music of Dave Brubeck

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Alejandra Sol Casas
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Barry Brake sits at the piano, for "A Tribute to Dave Brubeck."

Pianist Dave Brubeck (1920-2012) was known for his elegant songwriting, cool sound, and most of all, for the popular "time" themed albums he recorded from 1952 – 1967 with his quartet. The classic lineup of the group, from 1958-1968, included Paul Desmond on alto saxophone, Eugene Wright on bass, and Joe Morello on drums.

For all three members of San Antonio’s Jazz Protagonists, Dave Brubeck’s music is in their DNA.

“My folks had ‘Jazz Goes to College,’” says drummer Darren Kuper. “I listened to that all the time, as a little kid. We’re talking about five, six [years old].”

Pianist Barry Brake shares a similar background, adding “My parents had ‘Brubeck with Jai & Kai at Newport,’ and they had ‘Gone With the Wind.’”

Part of the early appeal of Brubeck’s music was its easy melodicism, according to Brake.

“[Brubeck’s] lines are fairly simple,” he says. Adding by comparison, “If you listen to Teddy Wilson, a young piano player just goes, ‘well, that’s a sheet of notes.’ But if you listen to Brubeck, you’re like, ‘Okay, I can pick that out.’”

For this Live at Jazz, TX gig, the Jazz Protagonists are joined by saxophonist Richard Oppenheim to recreate that classic Brubeck quartet sound. The set includes songs from the famous album “Time Out,” as well as rarities like the “Theme from Mr. Broadway.”

Live at Jazz, TX airs Saturday nights at 7:00 on TPR. Location audio for this set was recorded by Nathan Cone and Erika Howlett.

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Alejandra Sol Casas
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An appreciative audience at Jazz, TX.

Nathan has been with TPR since 1995, when he began working on classical music station KPAC 88.3 FM, as host of “Tuesday Night at the Opera.” He soon learned the ropes on KSTX 89.1 FM, and volunteered to work practically any shift that came his way, on either station. He worked in nearly every capacity on the radio before moving into Community Engagement, Marketing, and Digital Media. His reporting and criticism has been honored by the Houston Press Club and Texas Associated Press.