If you knew him, you know he loved music. Classical, Jazz and ‘Swing/Big Band’ being his favorites. So I chose one piece out of each of those categories for the day. Each one features an artist he loved and at the same time reflects his personality.
Dave Brubeck: Unsquare Dance
He loved Jazz. Loved Brubeck. Loved Unsquare Dance. I chose this piece as a reminder of how he fits the category of a straight shooter, running with the crowd, taking his instruction, following the norms – just as the people dancing a square dance. But just try clapping along, it’s a square dance in 7/8 … different, tangential, breaking the rhythm to create his own variation. That’s him in a nutshell.
The video above is how, to my knowledge, he never heard it – but I know would have loved it.
This is more how he would have heard it (visuals aside)
I only found out what this music was called this past December, but it is a perfect piece for the middle of this ceremony. He would of course happily listen to Brahms, Beethoven, Bach but after Brubeck we had to leave the ‘Bs’ behind’. And. For all of his love of classical music from all over the world, he was in his heart, first and foremost English. Elgar then is a perfect choice. As you listen, can’t you imagine him wandering around whistling, humming even singing this to whoever was there. (Generally himself). I can. He did. I remember It as clearly as if he was standing here. In fact, I think he is.
This version coincidentally conducted by Leonard Bernstein – yet another ‘B’ and another one of his favorites.
Sammy Davis Junior: The Rhythm of Life
You all know Sammy. One of the Rat Pack and he loved all of them. This piece could have been Frank’s ‘My Way’ – but way too obvious … no? Not to mention that the message of ‘My Way’ was captured with Unsquare Dance. But Sammy, dancing through that garage in Sweet Charity, rattling out the cities of America – this song captures so much of who he
was is and loved. Movies, America, Song, Dance, The Rat Pack. Life.
“And the rhythm of life is a powerful beat
Puts a tingle in your fingers and a tingle in your feet
Rhythm in your bedroom, rhythm in the street
Yes, the rhythm of life is a powerful beat.”