The Devout Dave Brubeck

Thanks to all the memorialists who needed to pick a song to play over their tribute to the late Dave Brubeck, I’ve had “Take Five” so thoroughly pounded into my brain that it knocked out some other important information (if anyone knows FDR’s first vice president or my pants size, please leave a note in the comments). What’s that? You haven’t heard “Take Five” enough in the last week? Well, here you go:

So if we weren’t already, now we’re all very familiar with Brubeck’s biggest hit. But I hadn’t heard word one about his Christianity until I read this piece on Acculturated:

“I approached the composition as a prayer,” Brubeck said of his “To Hope! A Celebration,” a contemporary setting for the Roman Catholic Mass. “Concentrating upon the phrases, trying to probe beneath the surface, hoping to translate into music the powerful words which have grown through the centuries,” he explained. 

It was the blood and brutality of real war, moreover that pushed Brubeck toward the sacred. In a 2009 interview with the PBS television program Religion & Ethics News Weekly, Brubeck said his service in World War II convinced him “something should be done musically to strengthen man’s knowledge of God.” 

This is probably no surprise to people who know jazz, but for the rest of us, it seems like something that should’ve been more prominent in his many epitaphs.

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