I first heard Dave Brubeck in the fall of 1966. I was sitting in the front seat of our brand new 1967 Ford Country Squire. It had an eight-track tape player and Time Out was one of the first tapes my mom bought for the new car. I was mesmerized. To this day I can’t hear cuts from that album without thinking of that car, those days, and that music that became a part of my music appreciation. So naturally when I got my own version of that station wagon twenty-three years later — right down to the navy blue paint and fake wood grain — I got Time Out on cassette, and when I got my first car with a CD player, it was one of the first discs to go into the console.
I still have that cassette and even got it autographed by Mr. Brubeck when he stayed at the Perry Hotel in Petoskey back in the early ’90′s.
There are a lot of great pieces on that album and many more on many other recordings, but Strange Meadow Lark is my favorite: it has all the elements I love in music, and the artistry in Mr. Brubeck’s composing and playing is on a par with the best pianists I’ve heard in my life.
I was listening to the album when I was driving home tonight. When I pulled into the garage and took out the CD, the radio station I had been listening to before I put in the disc was playing Strange Meadow Lark.
Rest in peace.