Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tricky Beats: Unsquare Dance

Dave Brubeck: Unsquare Dance


One of my earliest memories is being with my father, listening to Harry Belafonte’s Matilda, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade and anything by Johnny Cash (I still know all the words to his songs) – I was born in 1954 and we had a hi-fi for the early years of my life. I will never forget the momentous occasion when my dad brought home a *stereo*… took great delight in setting it up… had me sit down on the couch, at the apex where the speakers joined to make “the sweet spot”... and played Dave Brubeck’s Take Five (on Time Out) – magic!

A song on Time Further Out was also one of Dad’s favorites – as Brubeck points out in his liner notes:

Unsquare Dance, in 7/4 time, is a challenge to the foot-tappers, finger-snappers and hand-clappers. Deceitfully simple, it refuses to be squared. And the laugh you hear at the end is Joe Morello’s guffaw of surprise and relief that we had managed to get through the difficult last chorus.

Every time Dad played the album, which was frequently, he encouraged me to attempt to clap along... quite fun and challenging for a seven-year-old child – even though the tune was only two minutes, I never could keep the rhythm all the way through… but he always did...

[ Just as I was getting ready to post this, I saw the picture of Morello (Brubeck's drummer) on the Star Maker Machine home page sidebar for this week’s theme – wah! Here I thought I was being unique and clever – well, I’m sending it on anyway, just in case someone out there hasn’t heard (or heard of) it… ]

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