Tales of Dave Brubeck’s Concord Youth

Read an account from the jazz immortal on the Concord Historical Society website.

The Concord Historical Society has posted some good reading about old-time Concord on its website.

It’s a piece bylined by society President Lloyd Crenna and a Concord living legend, jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, who lives in Connecticut. Crenna adapted the article from a long letter that Brubeck, 90, who lives in Connecticut, sent him.

In it, Brubeck tells a wonderful story about the performance of a quartet of pianists — himself, his two brothers and their mother, Elizabeth Ivey Brubeck, who gave piano lessons to hundreds of Concordians at the house on Colfax Street.

It was two pianos and four sets of Brubeck hands. It seems that brother Henry, who was first a drummer, was a beat behind on his piano part the whole way through, which made brother Howard furious.

“I learned a little bit about ‘show biz’ that night,” writes Dave Brubeck, who later achieved fame for playing with the conventions of time signatures in jazz pieces. “If something goes wrong just keep on playing.”

Brubeck also reminisces about riding around the hills surrounding Concord on his Cleveland bike, selling apples from the Brubecks’ backyard tree.

The Brubeck boyhood home has been torn down, but the historical society installed a plaque earlier this year. is scheduled for Sept. 10.


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