I belong to a generation of jazz enthusiasts for whom a revolution took place when the Dave Brubeck Quartet produced their 1959 Time Out album. At that time, I went along to a Brubeck concert at the Stadium in Rushcutters Bay. Mesmerized by their complex rhythms, accentuated by the fabulous ethereal saxophone of Paul Desmond and the punchy bass strumming of Eugene Wright, I watched in amazement as their drummer Joe Morello drew a large white handkerchief from his coat pocket, in the middle of a piece, to wipe his sweating brow. Without losing a beat, he used the handkerchief as a drumstick for a second or so, nonchalantly, to the applause of the crowd. OK, it was a rehearsed gesture, but you needed to be Joe Morello to pull it off convincingly.
My description of that magic evening marked my first-ever momentary incursion into the world of creative writing, for the Honi Soit weekly of Sydney University. For the moment, I can't put my hand on that totally uninteresting document, but I promise to reproduce it here on my blog as soon as I find it. I've noticed, too, that there are web videos of this celebrated Brubeck excursion to the Antipodes.
We learn today that the maestro Morello has finally dropped the beat.
OK, Joe, take five...