Did you know that jazz great Dave Brubeck used to live in Montclair? Brubeck had been given a steep lot by his father, and built a cantilevered home. Apparently there was a large boulder that held it all together.
Brubeck explained how the boulder became a linchpin for his home and career. “The whole lot [was] suspended from the boulder, in an ‘L,’ with I-beams coming out which faced the Bay and the canyons.” His young and growing family moved into the home by 1954, where he was inspired by this cool design.
“I had a nine-foot grand [Baldwin] piano right next to that rock, and many of the most famous things I’ve written were written there,” says Dave. At that time, he had already formed the eponymous quartet and was quite prolific.
While we would have to confirm exactly which tunes emerged from the hills, I’m guessing Brubeck’s 1950s hits were among them – link and listen to Blue Rondo a la Turk, Strange Meadow Lark or Take Five.
Although Brubeck lives on the other coast now, he has not been forgotten by Golden Staters. This past May, he was inducted into the California Hall of Fame by the Governator and First Lady Maria.
Dave is in his late 80s and continues to tour and perform nationwide. He’ll give his next Bay Area performance at the San Francisco Jazz Festival on October 22nd, and tickets are still available.