05 December 2012

Requiescat in Pace Dave Brubeck

One day short of his 92nd birthday, jazz piano legend Dave Brubeck died of heart failure. In 2009 I saw him perform at the Detroit Jazz Festival, and at 89 he still had the same speed and precision.

Many people aren't familiar with his choral and liturgical music, including a Mass setting. Our Sunday Visitor commissioned him to compose the Mass setting in 1980. At the time Brubeck only had a vague belief in God, but hadn't really considered a relationship with Jesus. But while composing the last song for the Mass  he had an experience that brought him home: "I dreamt the entire 'Our Father' and jumped out of bed and wrote down as much as I could." Brubeck said, "It's pretty close to the dream, and after that dream I decided I would become Catholic."

Popular belief is that they play harps in heaven. Perhaps the newly departed Dave Brubeck will hear this when he enters the City of God. Or if he's tired of hearing the song (which Paul Desmond wrote and performed with Brubeck) he'll have to listen to this version in Purgatory. You decide

May his memory be eternal!

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