Dave and Iola Brubeck on jam sessions in India and Turkey in 1958
SS: Now, getting back to a couple albums by the classic quartet, one in particular, Jazz Impressions of Eurasia, developed out of your experiences with the quartet on the 1958 State Department sponsored tour of Europe and Asia. How did the music and musicians in these different parts of the world that you encountered influence the compositions that are found on the album Jazz Impressions of Eurasia?
DB: Yeah, we played in India, and we got to meet because they were coming to our concerts, the classical Indian musicians. The top guys were [Redungan?] players and sitar players -- would come.
The top singers, the top flutists -- and they were usually in the audience in the various cities. And, if I could only have a copy of the session where I got into a jam session with Indian musicians, they set it up, and it's some of the wildest things that I could never play again, or even the next day.
It was so different and so technically almost impossible. I was inspired by these Indian musicians. And that tape -- all over India, the electricity fluctuates. If you're shaving with an electric razor it goes (razor noise). If you're listening to the radio, it can get goofy -- for sure, the lights dim and go back up all the time, almost everyday. And, that's what ruined that tape.
SS: The jam session tape --
IB: When you came back then, Calcutta Blues is sort of based on that, right?
DB: Yeah, Calcutta Blues, and then the Turkish rhythm of Blue Rondo a la Turk was right from the street. I heard the street musicians. I heard them playing in 9, and I was on my way to a broadcast in Istanbul, and I asked a Turkish musician who was well-respected as a composer and musician.
He was standing in front off to the side of the orchestra, and I started singing this rhythm. I said, "What is this?" Pretty quick the whole radio orchestra started playing that rhythm and jamming. And he said, "It's like our blues. It's like your blues. This rhythm is like your blues. To us it's so common."
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