Blue Rondo à la Turk

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"Blue Rondo à la Turk"
Jazz standard by The Dave Brubeck Quartet from the album Time Out
Recorded 1959
Genre Jazz
Length 6:44
Label Columbia Records
Composer Dave Brubeck

"Blue Rondo à la Turk" is a jazz standard composition by Dave Brubeck. It appeared on the album Time Out in 1959. It is written in 9/8 and swing 4/4. It was originally composed by the Dave Brubeck Quartet with Dave Brubeck at piano, Paul Desmond at alto saxophone, Eugene Wright at bass, and Joe Morello at drums.

History[edit]

Brubeck heard this unusual rhythm performed by Turkish musicians on the street. Upon asking the musicians where they got the rhythm, one replied "This rhythm is to us what the blues is to you." Hence the title "Blue Rondo à la Turk."[1]

The rhythm consists of three measures of 2+2+2+3 followed by one measure of 3 + 3 + 3 and the cycle then repeats. The same rhythmic pattern is featured in the last movement of Brahms's A Minor String Quartet.[citation needed]

Rhythm of Blue Rondo à La Turk - consists of three measures of 2+2+2+3 followed by one measure of 3 + 3 + 3 and the cycle then repeats. Taking the smallest time unit as eighth notes, then the main beats are: ♩ ♩ ♩ ♩.|♩ ♩ ♩ ♩.|♩ ♩ ♩ ♩.| ♩. ♩. ♩.|. The arrows on the tempo dial show the tempi for ♪, ♩, ♩. and the measure beat. Starts slow, and speeds up to approximate the tempo of Blue Rondo à La Turk.

The piece is sometimes incorrectly assumed to be based on the Mozart composition "Rondo alla Turca." In 2003, during an interview, Dave Brubeck commented that "I should've just called it 'Blue Rondo', because the title just seemed to confuse people."[citation needed]

Derivative pieces[edit]

Keith Emerson used this piece (uncredited) when he was with progressive rock band The Nice, using it as the basis of "Rondo" from the album The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack. Emerson's version was in 4/4 time and Brubeck, meeting with Emerson in 2003, described it to him as "your 4/4 version which I can't play." Emerson, a great admirer of Brubeck, took this to mean that Brubeck preferred his own version, as Brubeck would have had no difficulty in playing Emerson's interpretation.[2]

Later, Emerson folded the melody into the 14-minute "Finale (Medley)" on the 1993 Emerson, Lake & Palmer release Live at the Royal Albert Hall, as well as improvisations on "Fanfare for the Common Man". Those medleys also included themes from other well-known tunes including "America" from West Side Story, "Toccata and Fugue in D", and "Flight of the Bumblebee". Emerson has frequently used the "Rondo" as a closing number during live performances through his career.

French singer Claude Nougaro used this composition as a musical foundation for his song "À bout de souffle".

The song "Vesuvius" by Frank Ticheli borrows a motif from Blue Rondo.

The opening bars of Blue Rondo are quoted at length by pianist Albert Gianquinto in "Midnight Creeper," a 1967 live performance by blues harmonica player James Cotton, included on the album "The Montreal Sessions."

Cover versions[edit]

In 2008, David Benoit, a well-known pianist in the jazz fusion\contemporary jazz scene, covered the song on two of his albums: 2006's "Standards"[3] and renditions-packed album "Heroes"[4][5]

Other notable covers include:

References[edit]