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Rediscovering Dave Brubeck
Rediscovering Dave Brubeck
Rediscovering Dave Brubeck
Rediscovering Dave Brubeck
Rediscovering Dave Brubeck

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Talking With Dave Brubeck


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The Man

Matthew Brubeck -- Cello

Picture of Dave Brubeck riding a horse

"Music, for me is alot like the way smell is for people, like a scent identifies something. For me, hearing the way Dave plays piano, just reminds me of growing up."

-- Matt Brubeck

Born in 1962, Matthew is the youngest and the tallest (at six-nine) member of the Brubeck family. His earliest memory of music was crawling under Dave's piano to pluck a bass that quartet member Eugene Wright left there after a practice session. He started playing piano at age three, mimicking either Dave or music he heard on television.

As a child, Matt wanted to take piano lessons, but found it awkward as a child to learn from Dave. So they invented a game where Dave would be an absentminded European piano teacher, Professor Nooseknocker. "He literally wore one of those Groucho Marx disguises, with the nose and the mustache," Matt remembers. "He would actually go out the back door and ring the front door and I would lead him down the stairs and we would have a short piano lesson."

In school, Matt began playing the cello, although it was out of purely pragmatic reasoning. The school orchestra needed a cello player and Matt knew how to read a base cleft. He learned how to be an orchestral classical player, but it didn't stick. "By the time I was in my twenties," said Matt, "I just naturally went back to by family roots and started exploring improvisation."

Matt is at home in a wide range of musical genres. Although classically trained at Yale, he is also at ease performing with avant-garde chamber groups, or playing jazz and pop/rock music. In addition to cello, Matt plays bass and keyboards. He is also a composer and arranger.

Matt has taken his cello improvisation skills into a wide range of musical territories. In the jazz realm, he founded Oranj Symphonette, which recorded two CD's for Rykodisc and played the New York, Montreal, and Monterey Jazz festivals. Oranj Symphonette received first place in Downbeat Magazine's 1997 critics poll for "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition." Matt has also recorded three duo CD's with guitarist David Widelock.

Additionally, Matt has performed in the pop/rock music world. He is currently a member of singer Sheryl Crow's band and has performed and/or recorded with singer/songwriters Tom Waits, Sarah MacLachlan, Indigo Girls, and Jonathan Richman, among others.

When he is at home, Matt continues to work with many of San Francisco's most creative musicians including John Schott, Pamela Z, and Ben Goldberg, as well as playing in the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra.

As a composer, Matt's music has appeared in silent movies, independent films, and on television. Among his arranging credits are the music of Thomas Mapfumo for the Kronos Quartet, the music of Nino Rota for Club Foot Orchestra, and his father's Blue Rondo for the Handel and Haydn Society orchestra of Boston. He is currently composing original music for a variety of small ensembles.

Matthew received his Master's degree in cello performance from the Yale School of Music, where he studied with renowned cellist Aldo Parisot. Quiet As The Moon (MusicMasters) marked his recording debut with his father. His work with his family includes playing and recording with Darius Brubeck (and Deepak Ram) in the group Gathering Forces. His most recent collaboration with his family was their 1997 recording In Their Own Sweet Way (Telarc).

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