Blue Rondo A La Turk – Dave Brubeck

This morning, driving through the icy darkness to school, I slid Dave Brubeck’s CD into my dashboard player and felt warm amusement as Blue Rondo A La Turk played.  I don’t know how to discuss music on an academic level, but I’ll simply say this–at the 1:53 mark, this piece finally settles into a pleasant 4/4 swing groove, only to be repeatedly interrupted by the spastic staccato that opened the first minute and a half.  And the more I replayed it, the more I laughed in the darkness and enjoyed it.

Forgive this unschooled application of Brubeck’s piece, but the longer I thought on it today, the more I saw how it fit life as I experience it daily.  I can safely say that my daily round of work routine involves a series of comfortable, flowing grooves, punctuated with intermittent surprises.  If I can ride the rough surf of the surprise, the groove will follow shortly.  I can usually count on that.  This is true of every class, every passing period, and every evening once I arrive home and begin my nightly routine–interstices consisting of grooves and spazzes.  That is how I view life.  And yes, I acknowledge that the perspective is colored by my own peculiar lenses.

Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion.  Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and as we pass through them they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its focus.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience”

But enough about moods.  Let’s talk about art . . .

Second Evening Sketching in Watercolor

Second Evening Sketching in Watercolor

Again, I find myself lost in an evolving sketch.  I am grateful for the warm memories of that Saturday afternoon in Dallas, especially now with the night around me dropping to 29 degrees with freezing rain.  I am still poking at this sketch, unsure of how to make the warm yellows and oranges pop against the atmospheric surroundings I found that afternoon.  The sun from the right was very intense, and I loved the effects of it.  I’m still wondering if I should try and get that on this page, or just focus on the people I’m trying to render and the decorations on the side of the food truck.  As I work, I’m listening to some very old VHS tapes of Joseph Campbell lecturing on James Joyce.  I love the work of Joyce, and love Robert Motherwell’s assessment of him as the Shakespeare of Modernism.  Motherwell said that the work of Joyce made him want to paint.  I can say that listening to Campbell’s fireside chats on this cold night have stirred my blood, helping me get back to the brush.

The sweetness of this day at school consisted of thoughts of returning to a moment like the one I was able to know this evening.  All day long when we’re on the job, our minds drift to those spaces where we want to retreat, and look to retreat as soon as the moment presents itself.  Emerson has been a genuine friend the past couple of days, particularly the insights he’s offered in his later essay “Experience.”  I close with this:

There are always sunsets, and there is always genius; but only a few hours so serene that we can relish nature or criticism.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience”

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.





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2 Responses to “Blue Rondo A La Turk – Dave Brubeck”

  1. Bill Chance Says:

    Nice entry – Love Blue Rondo a la Turk (though I think “Take Five” is the most perfect piece of music there is) and I love the Sushi from Crazy Fish. Want to see your sketch finished – keep at it.

    Thanks for sharing.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you for saying that. “Take Five” is my favorite Brubeck piece and I cannot play it enough. Blue Rondo just got me tickled this morning. Thanks for looking at my work. I’m enjoying the experience of it.


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