Tag Archives: Disney

Old/New Albums: Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Dave Digs Disney”

davebrubeckquartetFor the average American, Dave Brubeck is a name that might float into the brain’s associative orbit when the term “jazz” is discussed. There is a much better chance that one will recognize his quartet’s most famous tune “Take Five” from the common-time-signatures-be-damned masterpiece album Time Out. Only in the last two years have I started listening to that album and the rest of the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s catalog.

Obviously, since I’m writing about them now, I’m happy I dove into their work. Piano-based jazz from the ’50s and ‘60s is my favorite kind of jazz and it’s the initial connection that my brain associates with the term, quickly followed by the horn players from that same era.

Dave Brubeck is a bit of an exception even within that smaller subset of jazz. His playing still sounds free-form, or “jazzy,” to the new jazz listener, but I connect so much with it because it’s not overly abstract.

This album is the perfect example of the easily-accessible beauty of Dave Brubeck’s type of jazz. Dave Digs Disney was originally a collection of six tunes from various animated Disney movies and later rereleased with two extra songs. I listened to the rerelease for this post.

If you’ve never heard any Dave Brubeck Quartet, I’d recommend getting your hands on Time Out, and if you enjoy it, follow it up with Dave Digs Disney. Even if you don’t recognize all the songs as Disney songs (I didn’t), it’s a wonderfully relaxed set of tunes; a prime example of the smooth interplay between Brubeck on keys and Paul Desmond on alto sax, a musical relationship that had started in the late ’40s and would continue until the late ‘60s.

Back to the songs themselves. Because this album was originally released in 1957, the songs covered are all from Disney’s collection before that year, which unfortunately for me, are a lot of movies with which I’m pretty unfamiliar. The only song I knew kind of well was “So This Is Love,” and I only passingly knew a few of the others, while “Give A Little Whistle,” “One Song” and “Very Good Advice” were all completely new songs to my ear (didn’t watch a lot of Disney Animated Classics as a kid).

To be honest, this track list was a bit of a disappointment for me. The music itself (and the album as a whole) is great, but I would love to hear DBQ take on songs I know and love. “Ev’rybody Wants To Be A Cat” or “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” songs that date from the ‘60s and ‘70s Disney movies.

That being said, I really enjoyed listening to these tunes. The ones that I didn’t know just ended up sounding like great DBQ tunes, and the ones I did know had a fun jazzy twist to them.

The biggest bummer on the album was “So This Is Love,” from the Cinderella soundtrack. I can hear this one being played slow, with some intricately jazzy chords and just sexiness oozing all over it. DBQ opts for a much faster tempo than the original, and it morphs into a more boppy upbeat number. Which is fine, cause it sounds awesome, but when I first saw this on the tracklist, I was really hoping for a slow-burn jazz piece.

On the other side of the spectrum, you’ve got the upbeat “Heigh-Ho” from Snow White. This one is a blast, it is perfectly suited for DBQ’s upbeat spin on it. The original Disney tune is a bit of a drab march, but DBQ crank the tempo up and really hit the 2 and 4 beats, which is more appropriate if it’s off to play the dwarves go. This thing is just whimsically fun all the way through.

Top 3 Tunes:

  1. Heigh-Ho
  2. Give A Little Whistle
  3. One Song
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A brief history lesson.

A very cool article from the LA Times about the beginning of the Disney Archives:

click

The very first ticket to Disneyland ever sold. To Walt Disney’s older brother Roy, for only $1. This is awesome for a few reasons. Preservation is such an important part of our life. Librarian Smith was able to join a company that wasn’t holding its own history in such high regard and turned it around so they wouldn’t lose sight of where they came from. What a huge accomplishment, and especially for a company as enduring as Disney. Disney is truly one of the most established brands in this country’s history. I would argue no other company’s name has as much clout behind it. “Disney” evokes such an enduring legacy of pure entertainment infused with heart and meaning and love and goodness. True, they’ve produced their fair share of crap material in the last twenty years*, but no other brand name has as much good quality entertainment under it’s belt as Disney does. And they’ve done so well by keeping sight of their past. They’ve let their past successes inform their current endeavors. You’ve got to keep sight of where you came from to know where you’re at and where you’re headed. That’s why the Disney Archives are so important and awesome.

It’s also another reason for me to get excited about library school. I have no idea what I want to do once I’m actually there, but heading into the program is exciting because I know my core desires have to do with what the field is all about. Information, preservation, organization, communication. Lots of -tion words that are important in life. It’s cool to me that in hopefully three years, I will get a job in an institution where information is highly regarded and I will get paid to organize and communicate that information to others. Awesome.

Also, Lost was/is the most incredible television experience I’ve ever had. Hopefully more on that later.

-Jon

* Why they chose to work with Roseanne, I’ll never understand. Moo.

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