Events and Reviews

Playing The Changes – the film April 2024

Film poster for Playing the Changes documentary

A documentary film about Catherine and Darius Brubeck’s years in South Africa is now showing at Film Festivals around the world, see below for April dates and locations.

The film charts the couple’s transformational impact on the South African contemporary music scene as they set up the first jazz degree course in the country at the University of Kwazulu-Natal. A multicultural band calling themselves The Jazzanians grew out of the course in spite of the restrictions on racial mixing imposed by apartheid.

See the Film page for promotional videos, trailers and stills.

FestivalDatesWebsite
l’Europe autour de l’Europe Film Festival – Paris (World premiere)April 8th
www.evropafilmakt.com
RiverRun Film Festival – North Carolina (American premiere)April 22nd + 23rd
riverrunfilm.com
Beyond Hollywood International Film Festival – Los AngelesApril 27th at 11amwww.bhiff.org/2024-program

Wednesday, April 3 – Saturday April 6 – Book readings

Jazz encounters conference 2024

Darius & Catherine present readings and discussion of their book Playing the Changes: Jazz at an African University and on the Road to an international conference of jazz scholars.

Part of the Graz Jazz Encounters Conference

Saturday, 20 April Swindon Jazz & Soul Festival

Christ Church, Cricklade Street, David Knight Jazz Stage – music starts 14.00 

The fourth Swindon Jazz & Soul Festival will be held at Christ Church in Old Town and its grounds.

Tuesday, 23 April – Saturday, 27 April, Bern

Darius Brubeck with his brothers Chris (bass & trombone), Dan (drums) and British saxophonist Dave O’Higgins, at Bern’s International Jazz Festival. More details and full programme

Shows at 7.30 and 9.30 nightly

Marian’s Jazz Room,
Hotel Innere Enge
Engestrasse 54
CH-3012 Bern
Schweiz

Saturday, May 11: Jazz Cafe POSK

DBQ poster for Jazz Café Posk

Jazz Cafe POSK, located in the basement of the Polish Social & Cultural Association, POSK, in Hammersmith, West London.

Tel. 0208 741 1940

More information www.jascafeposk.org Buy tickets via Evenbrite

Saturday, June 1, Jazz Entraigues Festival

Entraigues Sur la Sorgue, 84320, France
35 Place du 8 mai 1945

Gala evening with The Darius Brubeck Quartet, staring 9pm. More information and tickets

Sunday, July 7 – Saturday July 13

Brubeck Jazz Summit with Chris and Dan Brubeck and guest artists
Roxy Coss & Lucas Pino 
North Lake Tahoe

More information from classicaltahoe.org

Monday, August 12 Les Musicales de Cormeilles

The Darius Brubeck Quartet play at Les Musicales the Cormeilles-en-Pays-d’Auge.

8.30pm, Théâtre de Cormeilles, 7 place du Théâtre, 27260 Cormeilles, France.

More information and tickets

Playing The Changes – the film, September 2024

Film poster for Playing the Changes documentary

The Darius Brubeck Quartet will appear ‘live’ in conjunction with this showing of a documentary film about Catherine and Darius Brubeck’s years in South Africa which is now showing at Film Festivals around the world. The film charts the couple’s transformational impact on the South African contemporary music scene as they set up the first jazz degree course in the country at the University of Kwazulu-Natal.

See the Film page for promotional videos, trailers and stills.

Film laurel for Music Film Festival
FestivalDatesWebsite
Music Film Festival – Tilburg (NL)September 7th
https://www.musicfilm.nl/

Jazzwise praises The Darius Brubeck Quartet

Darius Brubeck, though he pays extensive tribute to his father’s compositions, is a different musician, an ethnomusicologist and emeritus professor. Since living in England he has toured regularly with the same band – Matt Ridley (bass), Wesley Gibbens (drums) and the elegant Dave O’Higgins on tenor. At Jazz Hastings, this highly accomplished, super-relaxed quartet presented a well-designed set notable for its varied time signatures: 7/4, 6/4, 5/4, 9/8; rhythmic variety made appealing listening, in a groove, neither stilted nor pretentious.

Brubeck’s South African years were acknowledged by a cover of Masekela’s ‘Nomali’. This version was edgier – O’Higgins and Brubeck’s inventions were more modern jazz, less African modal, than the original. The tune’s simple beauty evoked memories of Masekela, Pukwana, Feza, McGregor, Makeba – the whole South African sound legend transported to England away from prohibitive Apartheid.

The evocative ballad ‘Sea of Troubles’ was a performance highlight in the second sent. This two-chord alternator, in a gentle, undulating 7/4, leaves plenty of space for O’Higgins’ explorations, after a drum intro and Brubeck’s tumbling waves of notes. O’Higgins plays a mellow, breath-coated, Conn10M tenor (favoured by Benny Carter, Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young), incorporating furry vintage jazz tones into his post-Coltrane phrasing. But the surprise of the evening was the choice of ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ (recorded by the quartet back in  2008). The change of time signature, a 5/4 setting, brought to the tune an eerie ambience and unexpected swing.

An Abdullah Ibrahim tribute medley incorporated some of Ibrahim’s characteristic South African piano sounds. Tunes by Brubeck père included ‘Pick Up Sticks’, legendary spiky blues ‘Rondo a la Turk’ and inevitably, ‘Take Five’. All were faster, more up-beat, less Desmond, gloriously augmented. The encore was ‘Winter Wonderland’, oh-so-muzak nowadays, but this upbeat 5/4 version was a suitable finale to a fascinating and polished performance.

Victoria Kingham, February 2024