Watch the Dave Brubeck Quartet on the Classic Jazz 625 Show, 1964

The great jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, who died in Decem­ber only a day short of his 92nd birth­day, pulled off a rare feat: He made music that was at once exper­i­men­tal and high­ly pop­u­lar. His quar­tet’s 1959 album Time Out, with its uncon­ven­tion­al time sig­na­tures and unique blend­ing of exot­ic and clas­si­cal influ­ences, is a land­mark in jazz his­to­ry.

On June 9, 1964 the Dave Brubeck Quar­tet played a pair of half-hour sets for the Jazz 625 show in Lon­don. We’re hap­py to bring you one of those two episodes in its com­plete form. It’s an excel­lent show, fea­tur­ing per­for­mances of five num­bers, famous and obscure, and a dis­cus­sion between Brubeck and host Steve Race about Brubeck­’s com­pos­ing meth­ods. The quar­tet is made up of Brubeck on piano, Paul Desmond on alto sax­o­phone, Eugene Wright on bass, and Joe Morel­lo on drums. Here’s the set list:

  1. Dan­ny’s Lon­don Blues (D. Brubeck)
  2. Dia­logues for Jazz Com­bo & Orches­tra, 2nd Move­ment (H. Brubeck)
  3. The Wright Groove (E. Wright)
  4. Take Five (P. Desmond)
  5. Sounds of the Loop (D. Brubeck)

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Remem­ber­ing Jazz Leg­end Dave Brubeck (RIP) with a Very Touch­ing Musi­cal Moment

10 Great Per­for­mances From 10 Leg­endary Jazz Artists: Brubeck, Coltrane, Miles and More

A Bird Ballet in Southern France

Look at what Neels Castil­lon unex­pect­ed­ly cap­tured on film while doing some shoot­ing at a Mar­seille air­port. Birds doing a pret­ty incred­i­ble bal­let in the sky. If you enjoy watch­ing mur­mu­ra­tions, you’ll want to watch this oth­er footage shot in Rome and espe­cial­ly this breath­tak­ing (no hyper­bole here) clip from Ire­land. It’s all quite stun­ning.

via Andrew Sul­li­van

Fol­low us on Face­bookTwit­ter and Google Plus and share intel­li­gent media with your friends! They’ll thank you for it.

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 2 ) |

Alistair Cooke’s Historic Letter From America (1946 – 2004) Now Online, Thanks to the BBC

Think of Mas­ter­piece The­ater and you might think of Down­ton Abbey, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, or even the Cook­ie Mon­ster. But the man who real­ly made the series famous was broad­cast­er Alis­tair Cooke, the series’ crisp, avun­cu­lar host. Seat­ed in a leather chair, sur­round­ed by bound vol­umes, Cooke intro­duced all of the great British pro­gram­ming brought to the States by WGBH—I, Claudius and Upstairs, Down­stairs and The Six Wives of Hen­ry VIIIand brought a cozy grav­i­tas to Amer­i­can tele­vi­sion.

Cooke died in 2004 and left a lega­cy as a broad­cast essay­ist: Let­ter from Amer­i­ca, a series of 15-minute radio pieces now col­lect­ed into an exten­sive dig­i­tal archive by BBC Radio 4. The essays aired week­ly through­out the world for 58 years, begin­ning in 1946, send­ing Cooke’s slight­ly amused voice over the air­waves. He gave us his ex-pat take on every­thing from Amer­i­can hol­i­days (includ­ing his per­son­al involve­ment in mak­ing George Washington’s birth­day a nation­al hol­i­day), to the ways Amer­i­can Eng­lish varies from British Eng­lish, to major events in Amer­i­can his­to­ry.

Cooke cap­tured America’s grief after John F. Kennedy was assas­si­nat­ed, but his eye­wit­ness account of Bob­by Kennedy’s death would become one of his most pow­er­ful reports. Cooke was in the lob­by of the Ambas­sador Hotel when Kennedy was shot and used scratch paper to scrib­ble down his impres­sions of the chaos.

He was bril­liant at craft­ing char­ac­ter-dri­ven sto­ries about issues. His piece about John Lennon’s death (above) segued neat­ly into an explo­ration of gun vio­lence in Amer­i­ca. He report­ed on the sui­cide of actress Jean Seberg and used the obit­u­ary as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­cuss the excess­es of FBI sur­veil­lance and witch-hunt­ing.

Cooke wasn’t as good a writer as he was a reporter (view his orig­i­nal scripts in the Boston Uni­ver­si­ty archive) and he audi­bly sighs dur­ing some broad­casts, as if he is either tired or bored. But his point of view is price­less: an obser­vant, charm­ing out­sider who fell in love with his adopt­ed coun­try, warts and all.

Relat­ed Con­tent

Mon­ster­piece The­ater Presents Wait­ing for Elmo, Calls BS on Samuel Beck­ett

Watch John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Two Appear­ances on The Dick Cavett Show in 1971 and 72

Kate Rix writes about dig­i­tal media and edu­ca­tion. Read more of her work at .

Read Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts Free Online


“Cur­rent­ly, it seems, Jane Austen is hot­ter than Quentin Taran­ti­no.” Mar­tin Amis wrote this in the New York­er back in 1996, when Taran­ti­no had cul­tur­al heat to spare. Even today, as the film­mak­er rides high on anoth­er one of his peri­od­ic waves of pop-cul­tur­al exu­ber­ance and con­tro­ver­sy-court­ing vio­lence, Austen may still win the pop­u­lar­i­ty con­test. Her much-read, often-adapt­ed sec­ond nov­el Pride and Prej­u­dice has, in fact, just passed its 200th anniver­sary of pub­li­ca­tion, and its rep­u­ta­tion as a reli­ably sharp and engag­ing com­e­dy seems stronger than ever.

Espe­cial­ly strik­ing for a nov­el of its age, this rep­u­ta­tion appears to have also grown wider than ever. Though some have always dis­missed her — and will always dis­miss her — as a writer of mere roman­tic fic­tion meant sole­ly for women, admi­ra­tion for Austen knows no demo­graph­ic bound­aries. Just look at her high-pro­file liv­ing male enthu­si­asts, a group that ranges from Amis to ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist and essay­ist Paul Gra­ham, who names Austen as one of his heroes. “In her nov­els I can’t see the gears at work,” Gra­ham writes. “Though I’d real­ly like to know how she does what she does, I can’t fig­ure it out, because she’s so good that her sto­ries don’t seem made up.”

“When I was intro­duced to the nov­el, at the age of four­teen,” Amis writes of Pride and Prej­u­dice, “I read twen­ty pages and then besieged my stepmother’s study until she told me what I need­ed to know. I need­ed to know that Dar­cy mar­ried Eliz­a­beth. (I need­ed to know that Bin­g­ley mar­ried Jane.) I need­ed this infor­ma­tion as bad­ly as I had ever need­ed any­thing. Pride and Prej­u­dice suck­ers you. Amaz­ing­ly — and, I believe, unique­ly — it goes on suck­er­ing you.” And if that 200-year-old nov­el fails to suck­er you, per­haps its 202-year-old pre­de­ces­sor Sense and Sen­si­bil­i­ty or its 199-year-old suc­ces­sor Mans­field Park will. You can browse Austen’s hand-writ­ten man­u­scripts per­tain­ing to these and oth­er of her nov­els in Jane Austen’s Fic­tion Man­u­scripts, an online joint project from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oxford and King’s Col­lege Lon­don. Austen’s fan­base, per­haps because of its broad­ness, seems to con­tain rel­a­tive­ly few obses­sive exegetes (com­pared to, say, acolytes of Thomas Pyn­chon), but you can only read her six nov­els so many times before feel­ing a need, if a vain one, to glimpse those “gears at work.” And if this con­tact with Austen’s cre­ative spir­it moves you to write your own adap­ta­tion of Pride and Prej­u­dice, why not think out­side the box and check on Taran­ti­no’s avail­abil­i­ty to direct?

Copies of Pride and Prej­u­dice can be found in our col­lec­tion of Free Audio Books and Free eBooks.

You can also down­load free audio ver­sions of Jane Austen nov­els if you take part in the free tri­al pro­grams offered by and

Relat­ed con­tent:

Jane Austen’s Fight Club

Dominic West (aka Jim­my McNul­ty) Reads Jane Austen

Niet­zsche, Melville, Jane Austen & More: The Lat­est Audio Book Clas­sics Released by Lib­rivox

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

Two Very Early Concert Films of R.E.M., Live in ‘81 and ‘82

There are always those bands that you’d wish you’d seen live—bands that seem like they’ll go on for­ev­er (maybe so long you wish they’d quit already). But then you nev­er get around to it, and, Bam!, one day the chance is lost. One of those bands for me is R.E.M., the only U.S. band in my book whose ear­ly work stood up to almost every­thing The Smiths put out. Since I was such a young lad when I first heard them cir­ca-Doc­u­ment, it wasn’t easy for me to get out to con­certs. And by the time I was old enough, they’d moved on some from their ear­ly jan­gle and stomp, garage-rock, post-punk sound, and I’d moved on to oth­er favorites. That’s a shame, in hind­sight, but now thanks to the heav­en­ly mag­ic (or dev­il­ry) of YouTube, I can (and do) spend hours catch­ing up on con­cert film of bands like R.E.M. that I was born too late to see live in their prime.

Whether or not you had the priv­i­lege of see­ing Michael Stipe and com­pa­ny in per­son, there’s lit­tle chance that you were at the show above (if so, speak up!). It’s prob­a­bly one of their first, at the 688 Club in Atlanta, open­ing for Tex-Mex “Nue­vo wavo” gui­tarist, Joe “King” Car­ras­co.

This gig took place on either Feb­ru­ary 2oth or 21st, 1981, a full eigh­teen months before their debut release, the EP Chron­ic Town. There are a few tunes here that nev­er resur­faced in lat­er record­ings (“Nar­ra­tor,” “Dan­ger­ous Times”) and a cou­ple that became clas­sics (“Gar­den­ing at Night,” “Radio Free Europe”). The film opens with them in the midst of cov­er­ing the Son­ny West-penned 1950’s clas­sic “Rave On” (one of Bud­dy Holly’s last hits). And of course it makes per­fect sense that they would owe a debt to this sound, but they trans­formed it so com­plete­ly in their orig­i­nal song­writ­ing that it isn’t always evi­dent. They pull it off with panache.

The whole gig is a tes­ta­ment to what a togeth­er band they were even at this ear­ly stage. It’s all there—Stipe’s vocal quirks and full-body dance attacks, Mike Mills’ bounc­ing bass lines and angel­ic vocal har­monies, Peter Buck’s right-hand­ed Rick­en­backer arpeg­gios (and dap­per vest), and drum­mer Bill Berry’s ever-reli­able back­beat. Nev­er known as over­ly tech­ni­cal musi­cians (an over­rat­ed qual­i­ty in rock, in my opin­ion), what R.E.M. may have lacked in vir­tu­os­i­ty, they made up for in per­son­al­i­ty. Anoth­er com­plete con­cert film below, from Octo­ber 10th, 1982, shows them on a high, two months after Chron­ic Town’s release. Filmed at the Raleigh Under­ground, this gig includ­ed a num­ber of songs that would appear on their first full-length, the moody, con­fi­dent, and time­less Mur­mur.

via Slic­ing Up Eye­balls

Relat­ed Con­tent

R.E.M.’s Final Live Moments in Mex­i­co (and a Vin­tage Ear­ly Con­cert)

R.E.M.’s “Los­ing My Reli­gion” Reworked from Minor to Major Scale

Live in Rome, 1980: The Talk­ing Heads Con­cert Film You Haven’t Seen

Josh Jones is a writer, edi­tor, and musi­cian based in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Fol­low him @jdmagness

Get Ready for MIT’s “Introduction to Biology: The Secret of Life” on edX

edX announced today what looks like a promis­ing new open course — Intro­duc­tion to Biol­o­gy: The Secret of Life. Host­ed by pro­fes­sor Eric Lan­der, one of the lead­ers of the Human Genome Project, this course will give stu­dents a ground­ing in “top­ics taught in the MIT intro­duc­to­ry biol­o­gy cours­es and many biol­o­gy cours­es across the world.” The course will cov­er every­thing from the basics of DNA to the intri­ca­cies of genomics. And it won’t run you any mon­ey. But it will require some time — about 6–8 hours per week, across 12 weeks (March 5 — May 28). Plus here’s a nice perk: any stu­dent who earns a pass­ing grade will receive “a cer­tifi­cate of mas­tery,” also free of charge. You can enroll in the course right here.

We have added Intro­duc­tion to Biol­o­gy: The Secret of Life to our ever-grow­ing list of MOOCs/Free Cer­tifi­cate Cours­es, along with anoth­er pri­mo edx course, a MOOC ver­sion of Michael Sandel’s Jus­tice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?. Be sure to check it out.

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 1 ) |

W.H. Auden Recites His 1937 Poem, ‘As I Walked Out One Evening’


Today we bring you one of the best-loved poems of W.H. Auden, “As I Walked Out One Evening,” read (below) by the poet him­self. Auden wrote the poem in 1937 and first pub­lished it in his 1940 vol­ume, Anoth­er Time. The poem is a vari­ant of the bal­lad form, made up of 15 rhymed qua­trains. It’s a med­i­ta­tion on love and the remorse­less­ness of time, told in three voic­es: the nar­ra­tor, a rap­tur­ous lover, and the reproach­ful clocks that speak back to the lover.

‘The years shall run like rab­bits,
     For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
    And the first love of the world.’

But all the clocks in the city
    Began to whirr and chime:
‘O let not Time deceive you,
    You can­not con­quer Time

Auden made a num­ber of audio record­ings over the years, and we were unable to track down the time and place of this one. It may be a 1953 record­ing orig­i­nal­ly released by Caed­mon Records. “As I Walked Out One Evening” is includ­ed in the Ran­dom House audio col­lec­tion, Voice of the Poet: W.H. Auden.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

500 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free 

375 Free eBooks: Down­load to Kin­dle, iPad/iPhone & Nook

Kingsley Browne, Wayne State Law Prof, Embarrasses Himself Spectacularly on The Daily Show

Jon Stew­art and com­pa­ny can make pret­ty much any­one look like an imbe­cile. Some nights they have to put a lot of elbow grease into it. Some nights less. And, some nights, they can just leave the elbow grease on the work­room shelf. Like Mon­day night, when Kings­ley Browne, law pro­fes­sor at Wayne State, gave an inter­view to The Dai­ly Show and opined on whether women should take part in front­line com­bat. While some con­ser­v­a­tives have opposed widen­ing wom­en’s role in com­bat by point­ing to “anatom­i­cal facts,” Kings­ley pulled some pop psy­cho-biol­o­gy out of his dusty store­house of patri­cian knowl­edge. “Girls become women by get­ting old­er; boys become men by accom­plish­ing some­thing, by prov­ing some­thing.” Saman­tha Bee could have just stayed home and col­lect­ed a pay­check that night. 1950s prat­tle just sounds increas­ing­ly fool­ish and fun­ny in 2013 (even if its effects are still per­ni­cious). But, even so, Bee did add the Andy Grif­fith fade-to-black & white, and that was a pret­ty nice touch.

Note: If Mr. Browne feels like his views weren’t ade­quate­ly expressed on The Dai­ly Show, we would wel­come him to elab­o­rate on his views in the com­ments sec­tion below.

Also note, if you’re look­ing for more musty mus­ings from the liv­ing muse­um, you can catch Mr. Browne on CNN.

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 6 ) |

More in this category... »
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.