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The Brubeck Festival 2008


2008 Brubeck Festival Poster

The 2008 Brubeck Festival was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1958 Dave Brubeck Quartet's State Department tour that was designed to advance the interests and values of the United States through cultural diplomacy. On this historic tour, one of the first of many organized by the State Department that sent many jazz musicians to all areas of the world, the DBQ traveled to Poland, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. As a result of the tour, numerous musical works were written and recorded, relationships were developed that have endured for half a century, and the emotional effect and the musical influence of the Brubecks on people encountered during that tour are profound and enduring.

The 2008 Brubeck Festival was the largest in the number of events and geographical area. It took place in Stockton, CA from March 31 - April 5, and in Washington D.C. from April 8 - April 13. In Stockton, the events were primarily on the campus of the University of the Pacific, and in Washington D.C. the events took place in partnership with The George Washington University, Smithsonian Institutions' Smithsonian Associates, Library of Congress, Meridian International Center, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

2008 Brubeck Festival - Stockton, California
March 31 - April 5

The Festival began with a concert in Faye Spanos Concert Hall on the Pacific campus with a concert entitled "Unity & Creativity Through Jazz" featuring guest artist Bob Mintzer, saxophone, with the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet and the Open World Jazz Octet. This was the fourth time that the Brubeck Institute has had a grant from the Library of Congress Open World Cultural Leadership Program to bring Russian jazz musicians to study and perform at the Institute, but it was the first time that the Russian musicians had the opportunity to perform on the festival. The weeks' concerts also included the Deepak Ram Quartet, Hiromi's Sonicbloom, and the Pete Escovedo Orchestra, all on the Pacific campus, and ended with the annual Jazz on the Mile, featuring the San Joaquin Delta College Jazz Ensemble, Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet, the Delta College Monday Night Jazz Band, the Open World Jazz Octet, the Pacific Jazz Ensemble, and the Patrick Langham Jazz Quintet. During the week the Brubeck Festival Symposium featured a presentation by Keith Hatschek called "The Voice of Freedom: Assessing the Impact of Dave Brubeck and Cultural Exchange During the Cold War." This was followed by a lecture by John H. Brown entitled: "Dave Brubeck: The Exception or the Rule? - Some Thoughts on Arts Diplomacy During the Cold War." The Symposium concluded with a panel discussion called "Cultural Diplomacy: Its Past and Its Future" featuring John H. Brown, Keith Hatschek, Russell Gloyd, Vladimir Tarasov, and moderator, Gene Bigler.

2008 Brubeck Festival - Washington D.C.
April 8 - April 13

The Washington week of the Festival began with an event that was not actually planned as part of the Festival, but was a most appropriate addition to the week's activities. On April 8, Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, presented Dave Brubeck with the first individual Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy in the U.S. State Department. It was an absolutely fitting recognition of Dave's 50 years of international activity in cultural exchange, and an exciting beginning to a very full week. That evening, the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University presented a seminar on cultural diplomacy, featuring the following presentations: "1958: World Events That Shaped Diplomatic Activity" by Hugh L. Agnew; "India and Cultural Exchange" by Ambassador Karl F. Inderfurth; "Cultural Exchange and Security Policy" by Marc Lynch; and "The Dave Brubeck Quartet's 1958 State Department Tour" by David Alan Grier. On April 9, the Smithsonian Associates in the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum presented the Deepak Ram Quartet in concert, preceded by a conversation with Dick Golden and Dave Brubeck about the DBQ's trip to India.

One of the great highlights of the week was the April 10 event in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress. The evening was billed as "The Dave Brubeck Quartet 1958 State Department Tour: The Music & The Memories." The opening welcome was given by James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress, and was followed by a presentation by the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Dana Gioia, called "Cultural Diplomacy and Brubeck: An Overview." The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts Jazz Choir under the direction of Diane Mower then sang several of the songs related to cultural diplomacy from Dave and Iola's great stage work, "The Real Ambassadors." This was followed by conversation/interview of Dave about the 1958 tour by Hedrick Smith. The conversation was musically illustrated by the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet performing the works on the DBQ album, "Jazz Impressions of Eurasia."

The host partner for Festival activities on April 11 was the Meridian International Center. Meridian had assembled a magnificent photographic exhibition chronicling the international tours of legendary jazz musicians selected by the U.S. State Department to serve as cultural envoys, with compelling images portraying the journeys of music greats such as Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Benny Carter, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, and Sarah Vaughan. This exhibition, entitled "Jam Session: America's Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World" served as the backdrop for the day's events. The first event was a symposium called "The Future of Jazz as a Tool of Cultural Diplomacy" featuring panelists Ambassador Cynthia Schneider, Dr. John Hasse, Ambassador John O'Keefe, and Dr. Charles Webb. A second panel discussion followed, entitled "Take Two: Reflection on the 1958 Tour" and featured panelists Dave Brubeck, Dr. Penny Von Eschen, Ambassador Kenton Keith, Professor Dan Morgenstern, and Dr. John Brown. The evening concluded with a concert by the Andrzej Jagodzinski Trio from Poland.

On April 12, the Festival activities shifted to the Kennedy Center. In the afternoon, featured on the Center's Performance Plus Series in the Terrace Gallery, was a discussion called The Real Ambassadors, featuring Dave Brubeck, Billy Taylor, and Ramsey Lewis, moderated by Gary Giddens. It was a candid discussion of what it means to take the music and culture of America to the world at the times when it was needed most. That evening, the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet played a concert on the Millennium Stage in the Kennedy Center.

The 2008 Brubeck Festival concluded on April 13, with a series of performances in the Jack Morton Theatre at the George Washington University, featuring several groups from the GWU Music Department, the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet, and guest artist, saxophonist Walt Weiskoph. The final concert was back at the Kennedy Center, and featured a joint concert by the Ramsey Lewis Trio and the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

The 2008 Brubeck Festival was produced by Steve Anderson, Director of the Brubeck Institute.