PORT ANGELES — Dan and Chris Brubeck, sons of the legendary jazz composer and pianist Dave Brubeck, were playing music before many of us could read.
Growing up in the Brubeck household, “was pretty great,” said drummer Dan Brubeck, now 68, on Monday. “We had all these incredible musicians around all the time.”
Dan — whose original drumming style, distinctive solos and his mastery of polyrhythms have earned him the respect of critics worldwide — first learned from Joe Morello, acclaimed drummer in the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
Dan said Morello was “kind of lazy” in that he would leave his drum set at the Brubeck house in Connecticut. After Dan at 3 or 4 years old began trying them out, Morello gave him lessons. By the age of 5, Dan was playing.
Morello “and Buddy Rich were the two best drummers in the world,” Dan said. “But you don’t know that as little kid. They were just friends of our parents … It was a very natural way to learn music.”
He remembers his brother Chris, who plays bass and trombone in the quartet, “used to crawl under the piano and listen to rehearsals.”
Chris was too small to play the bass standing up, so he would lay down on the floor to play it, Dan recalled.
“We just started in at a very young age very naturally,” Dan said.
“When we got older, we played concerts with them.”
The Brubeck brothers and two longtime members of their musical family, pianist Chuck Lamb and guitarist Mike DeMicco, are performing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Field Arts & Events Hall at 209 N. Oak St. in Port Angeles.
The quartet will be the first to perform in the new hall’s 500-seat Donna M. Morris Theater.
Field Hall, which cost about $56 million, will celebrate a grand opening July 29-30.
Tickets to Thursday’s concert were selling rapidly, but if any are left, they can be purchased online at https://fieldhallevents.org/#/events, or perhaps at the door. Doors will open at 7 p.m.
The Brubeck Brothers Quartet has been together for some 30 years, and its various members had performed together in other bands in various combinations before then.
“Now we’re all in one band together — people who have splintered off and now we’re all in one group together,” Dan said, with each bringing to the band different influences.
The member with the shortest tenure in the band is Lamb; he’s been with the group for only 20 years.
They are intent upon performing music “in the vein of the kind of music my dad would play,” Dan said.
The words to that music were written by Iola Brubeck; her lyrics were sung by Louie Armstrong and other greats.
His parents “were the Beatles of the jazz world,” Dan said.
“We’re trying to keep that music alive. It’s really vital music,” he said.
In 2020, the quartet marked what would have been Dave Brubeck’s 100th birthday with tours all over, Dan said.
“We do a lot of updated versions of my dad’s material,” he said. “We’ve been doing quite a bit of his material but in our way.”
The quartet on Thursday also will perform original work. The Brubeck Brothers Quartet has won accolades worldwide.
Among albums are See How it Feels, by the two Brubeck brothers in 1972, Second Nature in 2000, Intuition in 2006, Classified in 2008, LifeTime in 2012 and TimeLine.
Dan himself was producer and drummer for the 1993 Grammy-nominated Trio Brubeck album and performed in the 1996 annual Grammy Award Ceremony as well as The 2009 Kennedy Center Honors.
Thursday will be the first visit in some time to the Port Angeles area for Dan Brubeck, who lives in British Columbia. He’s driven through on his way to Olympic National Park, he said.
After performing here, the quartet will go to the Brubeck Jazz Summit in Tahoe, Calif., where youth from 15 to 18 years old will gather to learn from “some of the great young players from all over the world,” Dan said.
He wants to keep jazz alive.
“It’s great to see young kids who haven’t been exposed to the music,” Dan said. “Kids will come up and say, ‘I knew nothing about this and it’s the greatest music I’ve ever heard.’
“It is pretty spectacular music.”
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at email@example.com.