Artist: Dave Brubeck Quartet
Album: Time Out
Genre: Cool Jazz
“More instrumental music to prevent me from getting a quote”
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I feel like the jazz never ends, I’m in an endless cycle of just listening to a lot of jazz with occasional breaks of a possible country album and maybe, if I’m lucky, some good ole fashioned rock and or roll. But those feel like few and far between. Jazz is now consuming my life, it’s everywhere and it plays non-stop… I need help, someone take me away from here. Jazz I love you but you’re starting to get too clingy, you’re over-staying your welcome. PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE!
I love Jazz, I really do, but sometimes you just want something different, something to break the old routine that you are stuck in. I honestly don’t think I’d be able to handle another jazz album for another while, i’s too much. It’s the old rule: Everything in moderation. I think a good 90% of the albums in the fifties were jazz and so many of them, way more than I expected, were instrumental jazz, which makes it very hard for me to critique or talk about.
Ask me to recreate one of the songs for you, go on ask me… see? I can’t do it. As much as the music is great and relaxing and just so beautiful, there’s one big problem, a lot of it is not memorable. Unless you study it quite extensively and are a huge jazz nut, chances are you forget the melody (or lack thereof) almost instantly once the next song plays. Heck, each song probably seems to blend one into the other and you have no idea where one starts and the other ends, other than the regular dip between each song which signifies a song change. Songs themselves go through so much change that the same song doesn’t even feel like it’s part of the same song.
The reality is Jazz is simply an experience, for the most part each song doesn’t really get stuck in your head the same way a pop song does, but what it does do is let you just enjoy the music for what it is (which at the end of the day I’d probably rather have an enjoyable experience rather than an earworm of a shitty pop song).
So, I’ll admit, every time I write about jazz I basically say the same thing, only in different words, and it is getting difficult finding new words to say the exact same thing. What I liked about this album is that as much as it’s instrumental cool jazz, which I’ve been getting a lot of, it’s very different than the other jazz albums I listened to, which was actually quite refreshing and even though gave me much of the same it at least gave me a different perspective of the same genre.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet was doing some interesting things with this album and the biggest was experimenting with time signatures. Throughout the album various time signatures are used, such as 9/8, 4/4, 3/4, 5/8, 5/4. Sometimes the time signature would even change within the song itself, which for anyone who listens to it, can sometimes fuck with your head (but in this case did so in a good way). Along with that they threw in a lot of turkish influences, which gave the sound a much different feel than, say, Miles Davis. Same genre but felt like two completely different things. I think that’s really what stood out for me, this album was doing something different with the cool jazz genre and the band took some mighty risks.
Did you know when it first came out it was met with mostly negative reviews? It wasn’t until years later did people stop and go, you know what? this shit is actually way better than we initially thought. That’s usually what happens when artists do something completely different and unique. People are used to cliches, routines and the familiar. Every time something completely new appears on the scene its either met with praise because it broke the traditional or is met with critcism because it’s “weird and different”. The weird and different work is usually what ends up standing the test of time. People don’t know what to make of it when it first appears so they automatically turn towards the negative.
You see this happen everywhere, heck when I was in film school this was basically the rule. The students who were making the same, old, tired films we have seen a thousand times were often getting the praise because it was the idea of “This is what makes a good movie”. The students who were trying new things, finding their voice and making films that were different were often met with indifference and “Well, I would have done it this way” type criticism. But if you look at any film maker who has made it big and respected and made memorable work, each of their stories always starts with something like “rejection from film school”, “told they would amount to nothing”, “People weren’t interested in my work” and the likes.
People are scared of the unfamiliar and breaking the rules, scared to be unique and different because, let’s face it, it’s not always good, sometimes doing something that’s different is a bad thing, but this is usually the case when you’re going against the grain simply for going against the grain.
Did you know that when The Shining originally came out it was nominated for razzie awards and got a ton of negative reviews? And now, people jump on the bandwagon of it being a masterpiece (It’s good, but not that great honestly). This kind of stuff happens all the time. Happened to Charlie Chaplin and it happened to Hitchcock. They broke the scene with risky choices and were only recognized for it years later, and that’s what the Dave Brubeck Quartet did here as well.
I’ll end this with some advice. If you’re an artist, don’t be afraid to be different. Don’t be afraid to have your own voice. The key to unique work isn’t coming up with some absurd story but it’s finding your voice and telling stories your way. Don’t succumb to cliches and and writing and forced drama because you feel “this is what makes a good movie” because you’re basically digging yourself into a hole with that attitude. Don’t be afraid to find your voice and just be yourself in your art. Dare to be different (But not different for the sake of being different). You’ll see it’ll make a world of difference for your art.
Song of Choice: Blue Rondo a la Turk
Photoshop Credit: Julian Branco