Sometimes nothing captures a moment in time better than a song.

Dave Brubeck_quartetIn 1959 Dave Brubeck released Time Out; a landmark recording that would go on to be the first instrumental jazz album to sell over a million copies. It was notable also in that Brubeck’s compositions explored time and pulse in a way most jazz never had.

The most well known tune from that recording is “Take Five”, a swing tune written with five beats per measure. It’s is still played frequently by contemporary jazz musicians. Another big hit from the album was “Blue Rondo à la Turk”, but this tune is seldom performed today.

Legend has it that Dave Brubeck heard Turkish street musicians playing traditional music with an alternating pulse. When Brubeck asked the Turkish musicians about the pulse they said this rhythm was to Turkey what the blues is to America. Brubeck incorporated this fluctuating 9/8 rhythm into “Blue Rondo” to create a piece that would go on to have global appeal.

Resonance is excited to be giving “Blue Rondo à la Turk” another live performance on the stage of SFJAZZ Center this October. Steve McQuarry’s arrangement is true to the original in meter, pulse and form but with the addition of string instruments and flute the piece takes on new life.

Check out the Dave Brubeck quartet performing “Blue Rondo à la Turk” in 1959 here. If you stick with it you’ll hear Paul Desmond’s ever-cool improvisation and see the audience enjoy encountering a new rhythm for the first time.

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