Yesterday we told you about our upcoming recording project with the Concord Chamber Music Society, and let you know that we will be doing a world premiere recording of Chris Brubeck’s piece Danza del Soul. So today we thought we would tell you a little more about the composer!
Christ Brubeck continues to distinguish himself as an innovative performer and composer. During the 70’s he began touring and recording with his father, Dave Brubeck. Chris plays bass, trombone, piano, guitar and sings and, in the past few decades, has earned international acclaim as composer, performer and leader of his own groups. On stage, his irrepressible enthusiasm is matched by his fluid command of jazz, blues, folk, funk, pop and classical musical styles. An award-winning composer, he is clearly tuned into the pulse of contemporary music. The respected music critic for The Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein calls Chris: “a composer with a real flair for lyrical melody–a 21st Century Lenny Bernstein.”
In the last decade, Chris has created an impressive body of symphonic work while maintaining a demanding touring and recording schedule with the Brubeck Brothers Quartet (with brother Dan on drums). Last year the BBQ released its second Koch recording, Classified which features Chris’s composition for woodwind quintet and the BBQ, “Vignettes for Nonet.” This innovative fusion of classical and jazz genres is performed with the Grammy-nominated Imani Winds. (Classified and the BBQ’s first Koch release, Intuition, were each in the top ten on jazz radio in 2007 and 2008.) Chris also continues to perform and record with Triple Play, an acoustic blues/jazz/folk trio with vocals that includes guitarist Joel Brown and harmonica virtuoso Peter Madcat Ruth.
Chris is a much sought-after composer, and has been commissioned to write many innovative works. April, 2009 marked the premiere of “Ansel Adams: America”, an exciting orchestral piece Chris and Dave Brubeck wrote accompanying 100 of Ansel Adams’ majestic images being projected above the orchestra. Among some of Chris’s other recent commissions are: “Quiet Heroes: A Symphonic Salute to the Flagraisers at Iwo Jima”, a moving piece for full orchestra and narrator; “Spontaneous Combustion”, a fiery violin concerto Chris wrote for the talented violin soloist Nicolas Kendall. “Mark Twain’s World: A Symphonic Journey with Genuine Thespians” was a genre-breaking piece for orchestra and actors based on the life of Mark Twain. Chris’s second Boston Pops commission, the exciting “Interplay for 3 Violins and Orchestra,” with performances by violinists Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg (classical), Eileen Ivers (Irish) and Regina Carter (jazz) was broadcast on PBS “Evening at Pops” and won Chris an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for best composition for television broadcast. In November, 2007 Chris and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra premiered his “From the Blues to Beyond”, a concerto for trumpet and trombone with full orchestra.
In December, 2006 the Concord Chamber Music Society premiered Chris’s sextet “Danza del Soul” performed by members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. 2006 also brought the release of Chris’s second symphonic CD, Convergence, on Koch International Classics featuring the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. The disc is entirely comprised of Chris’s original compositions including Frederica von Stade singing “River of Song”, together with the title composition, “Convergence”, a piece commissioned by the Boston Pops to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Symphony Hall. The CD also includes Chris performing his second major trombone work, “Prague Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra”. (His first trombone concerto was recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra on the Koch release, Bach to Brubeck.) Reviewing Convergence, Fanfare Magazine wrote: “Brubeck’s skill both as composer and soloist is extraordinary.” In July, 2006, Chris served as composer-in-residence at the Henry Mancini Institute in Los Angeles, where he also performed his Prague Concerto with the HMI Symphony. The L.A. Times reviewed that performance writing it was “a powerful showcase … from dark-toned intimacy to tear-down-the house exuberance.”
On special occasions, Chris continues to guest on bass and trombone with The Dave Brubeck Quartet. Chris has worked with many diverse artists, including Frederica von Stade, Ben Luxon, Dawn Upshaw, Bill Crofut, Meryl Streep, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, Gerry Mulligan, Bela Fleck, Bobby McFerrin, Stephane Grappelli, Bobby Womack, Tower of Power, and Patti Labelle. His compositions have been performed by orchestras all around the world, including the prominent U.S. orchestras of Boston, Houston, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington as well as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, and the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. Chris’s most recent thrill was performing with his brothers, Darius, Dan and Matthew, in an all-star tribute to their father, Dave Brubeck, as part of Washington’s Kennedy Center Awards, which was televised internationally in December, 2009.
“Chris Brubeck is probably one of the finest performing jazz trombonists around today.” DownBeat
“Chris has become one of the most capable electric bassists, delivering imaginative solos.” Los Angeles Times