Dave Brubeck: Theology in 5/4 Time


The art of progress is to preserve order amid change,
and to preserve change amid order.  Life refuses to be embalmed alive.
–Alfred North Whitehead

A Syncopated Sort of Life (and Death)

You don’t have to love hardcore jazz to love Dave Brubeck.  One of the few jazz geniuses to cross over to the mainstream without compromising his musical integrity, he enchanted—and continues to enchant—a wide swath of music lovers.  As a young saxophonist in a high school jazz band in the early Seventies, I was one of the beguiled, finding special inspiration in Brubeck’s cool-as-a cucumber sax player, Paul Desmond.  Today, I don’t play the saxophone very often, but I do play Brubeck, for his music helps me imagine a truly creative approach to life, one that constantly challenges the status quo without forsaking it altogether—revolution, yes, but not bloody revolution.  Change amid order.  Zest amid harmony.  It speaks of a Whiteheadian view of the world, a process-relational world, a daringly beautiful world of “creative transformation.”

Click here to read the entire essay–with a little Take Five music as you read . . .