Many months ago, I was passing though the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle and saw that not only was there something called “Jazz at Lincoln Center” but that Dave Brubeck and Ramsey Lewis were playing in one concert. Despite my eclectic taste in music I’ve never been much of a Jazz person, but even I’ve heard of and appreciate Dave Brubeck and Ramsey Lewis as two of the living legends of Jazz. You’ve probably heard of Dave Brubeck’s most well-known work Take Five. I barely missed hearing Dave Brubeck a few years ago in Seattle and I jumped at the opportunity to hear him in NY.
Dave Brubeck first stepped to the microphone to make a small correction in the program. Instead of being 83 as listed, he was actually 87 and joked, “how time doesn’t fly.” Later he displayed some more of his humor describing how he wrote the song “London Sharps, London Flats” and dedicated it to his manager after a particularly difficult European tour:
You’ll notice how my right hand goes up the keyboard on the sharps and my left one goes down on the flats.
It sounds terrible.
Of course it didn’t sound that bad. Actually I hope I can play the piano that well when I’m 87.
Ramsey Lewis may not be as familiar, but is well known for jazz arrangements of other songs. Perhaps the most recognizable piece being a cover of Dobie Gray’s “The In Crowd,” but he also included a jazz cover of the Beatles’ In My Life.
While Dave Brubeck’s pieces played with chord structures and time signatures Ramsey Lewis’ music more more rhythmic incorporating jazz, blues, gospel, and even a calypso riff.
Anyway, with everything else that’s been going on this week, the timing (so to speak) couldn’t have been better.