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During a photo shoot in the sixties where the British photographer David Bailey was photographing jazz musician Duke Ellington, Bailey  had asked Ellington the question: “What is Jazz?”. Ellington had promptly replied: “Four beats to the bar, and no cheating”.

The answer relates to the musical concept of a classic 4/4 rhythm part, with 4 stroke on a bar – and thus no cheating. It is a known fact that most music is written in 4/4 , and this solid pattern matches the human rhythm perception well.

Four beats to the bar, and no cheating

– Duke Ellington

I’ve gone for a while and thought about Ellington’s answer, mostly because it’s funny and idiomatic. But the simplicity of the message, I like it: Keep it simple and do not cut corners, could be one interpretation. In fact, it fits very well to go into the workshop and work on your classic car. Here it is for me also to make it simple, true and without too much cheating. The topic can be discussed in a very large scale, and it will be at least in my workshop. Often, we are cocksure of solutions opportunities and not least extent. It requires often a little creativity to solve some problems without too much cheating, so to speak, to keep 4/4 beat. There wrinkling on the forehead of a visitor: “Is it now also quite correct to use magic antirust products right where the fuel pipe runs through the body panel?” So maybe you run out of explanations and will need new arguments. In jazz music some people went down roads other than what Ellington’s quote dictates. Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond went over to another system – for a while at least: Together they wrote what was to become a huge hit. They did it in 5/4 part. So 5 beats in a bar. Easy, it was different.

We’ll take a video with Brubeck, here with the tune Take Five which is in 5/4. And let it be an inspiration that different can be very good, and it’s not even cheating. Just different – brilliant.

Brubeck did not invent the concept of cool – that one might think after seeing this video. But he certainly did the concept for his own, in his own term. In the sixties the world found him ultra Cool, even those outside the jazz environment. Brubeck died last year after a very long career. His musical journey peaking at Take Five track from the album Time Out. This album should be purchased and enjoyed. And especially in the workshop.

Brubeck was not known to be particularly fond of cars, and as far as I can see, there are only a few pictures of him with a four-wheel vehicle. Whether he preferred them with 5 wheels is unknown. But that he for long drove around in the following bathtub is certain.

Dave Brubeck i sit rullende badekar

Dave Brubeck in the rolling bathtub


Now today it’s Friday and today is about music. So it is appropriate to show girls who enjoy music.


Jazz høres helst i værkstedet, men kan også nydes i bilen

Jazz should be enjoyed in the Workshop, but can also be enjoyed in the car

You might ask: Is jazz dead for you? What is cheating in the workshop? And do your wife also have a portable gramophone?

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