Brubeck was epic. Perfect. I smiled and grinned and even had a few tears. I saw men wiping tears, too. Dave is 88 years old. Everyone there felt both the intimacy and the history of the event. Dave thanked UNT for the residency, and said it had been one of the best weeks of his life.
The hall was sold out, and I don't think there were any empty seats. The Murchison Performing Arts Center is a very interesting facility. My seat was in the Choral Terrace, and I was thirty feet from Brubeck, looking at his face, although not able to see much of the keyboard. The man radiates joy and humor. The communication between the quartet members was a delight to observe.
They played over two hours with just a short intermission. Sometimes it was a strain for Dave to push himself up from the piano bench to stand. A few times someone helped steady him walking on or off the stage. Still, there were two encores. The sax and flute player, Robert Militello, was incredible.
I happened to be surfing through radio stations in the car Tuesday morning, and heard an announcement on 88.1, UNT's jazz station, that the Dave Brubeck Quartet had added a second performance due to high demand. I was anxious to get home that night to buy a ticket online.
Although I went to the concert by myself, I've seldom felt less alone. I was accompanied in enthusiastic spirit by my dad, sister, and Woolly Mammoth son. I sat between two UNT student bass players who were as excited as I to be in attendance. The anticipation made us gabby, and we were soon comparing the complications of transporting bass violins, art portfolios and canvasses across campus.
© 2009 Nancy L. Ruder