With Ravinia’s “Jazz in June” a thing of the past, Symphony Center is picking up some of the slack by offering this special summer appearance of the Dave Brubeck Quartet to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the most popular jazz album of all time, “Time Out” (Columbia). When it was first released in 1959, many didn’t know what to make of it at first with its abstract painting on the cover and its spotlight on changing meters and unusual time signatures. But tracks such as “Take Five” and “Blue Rondo à la Turk” became so popular that they became standard on jukeboxes; the single of “Take Five,” with its pulsating 5/4 time signature and Paul Desmond alto saxophone line, actually became the first million-seller jazz single since the swing era. The goal, according to Brubeck on a bonus DVD accompanying a three-disc fiftieth-anniversary re-release of the album, was to showcase time signatures not typically heard in jazz, something that Brubeck claims Paul Desmond was against, which may in part explain why Desmond plays so melodically and lyrically on the album, a wonderful contrast to Brubeck’s percussive pianism and his powerful rhythm section of bassist Eugene Wright and drummer Joe Morello. Virtually all of the album’s repertoire will be presented by Brubeck along with Bobby Militello on alto saxophone and flute, bassist Michael Moore and drummer Randy Jones. (Dennis Polkow)
June 26, Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, (312)294-3000, 8pm.
Dennis Polkow is an award-winning veteran journalist, critic, author, broadcaster and educator. He made his stage debut at age five, was a child art prodigy and began playing keyboards in clubs at the age of fourteen. He holds degrees in music theory, composition, religious studies and philosophy from DePaul University in Chicago. Polkow spent his early years performing and recording in rock and jazz bands while concertizing as a classical pianist, organist and harpsichordist and composing, arranging and producing for other artists. As a scholar, Polkow has published and lectured extensively and taught at several colleges and universities in various departments. As an actor, narrator and consultant, Polkow has been involved with numerous films, plays, broadcasts and documentaries. As a journalist, Polkow helped co-create the experiential Chicago Musicale and Spotlight, the award-winning tabloid arts and entertainment section of the Press Publications chain of newspapers, which he later edited. He also created and ran the nationally recognized journalism program at Oakton College and was faculty advisor to its award-winning student newspaper; many former students went on to major media careers, including Channel Awesome’s the Nostalgia Critic. Polkow’s research, interviews, features, reviews and commentaries have appeared across national and international media and he has corresponded from the Middle East, Asia and Africa for the Chicago Tribune. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org