Garamendi honors Dave Brubeck on House floor

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Fairfield, spoke on the House floor today to honor iconic jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, a Concord native who died Dec. 5, one day before his 92nd birthday.

Brubeck grew up in Ione (Amador County), graduated from the College of the Pacific in Stockton and later attended Mills College in Oakland before recording with San Francisco’s Fantasy Records. A long residency at the Black Hawk nightclub in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district helped him establish a reputation that would soon grow to international stature.

UPDATE @ 5:11 P.M. THURSDAY: Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, today introduced a resolution honoring Brubeck. “Dave’s contributions to music, jazz, and the arts have had a tremendous impact here in Stockton and around the world,” McNerney said in the news release, adding he’s “proud to introduce this resolution recognizing his contributions and talents.” Garamendi; Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez; and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, are among the resolution’s original co-sponsors.

Read the full text of Garamendi’s remarks, after the jump…

“Mr. Speaker, today I come to the House floor to celebrate the life of one of California’s greatest native sons, the Ambassador of Jazz, Dave Brubeck.

“The man behind the immortal classics like ‘Take Five’ and ‘Blue Rondo a la Turk’ was born in Concord, California, a city I’m proud to represent.

“Drafted to serve in General Patton’s Army during World War II, he formed the Army’s first integrated band. He would later tour with black musicians in Jim Crow South during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, insisting on mixed race quartets and integrated crowds. Because of this courageous stand, 23 out of 25 of his shows were cancelled one summer.

“‘Jazz is the voice of freedom,’ he said.

“With suave sophistication, Brubeck would become a leader in the West Coast Cool Jazz scene, putting California on the map.

“Dave Brubeck performed before presidents, prime ministers, premieres and pontiffs. He was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment of Arts and he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

“On a personal note during the 16 years I represented Stockton, Brubeck often came there to help the University of Pacific and many charities.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.