Sad to report that we recently lost two very special individuals who were very much a part of the Brubeck family. Bassist Jack Six passed away on February 24 and Dave’s long time agent Frank Modica, Jr. passed on March 15.

Jack first played with Dave in 1967 when Jack was called in at the last minute to play the bass part to Dave’s first major composition, “The Light In the Wilderness" when it became obvious that the local bass player was not up to the task. Dave told the story of sitting in the hotel restaurant and, seeing Jack drive up to the hotel, asking him if he wanted something to eat. Jack’s response was:
"Dave, if it’s all the same to you I’d rather see the music".

A few months later, Dave received a call from George Wein asking Dave to perform in Mexico City for the jazz festival that coincided with the 1968 Summer Olympics. Dave explained to George that he had retired and that he no longer had a group. George then told Dave that there would be 350 jazz musicians out of work, because the Festival had made it quite clear that, without Brubeck, there was no Festival.

Dave had always been great friends with Gerry Mulligan, even to the point of having Gerry record for Fantasy Records at the time when Dave was A&R for Fantasy. Gerry was totally receptive to the idea of performing with Dave. Now all that was needed was a rhythm section. This is when Dave remembered the great job that Jack Six did in North Carolina. Dave called, and Jack was on board. For the drummer, George’s wife Joyce recommended a Boston drummer, Alan Dawson.

Thus was born The Dave Brubeck Trio with Gerry Mulligan.

This was a group that was to do a few “warm up" concerts prior to Mexico City and then thank you very much. Instead the group was having so much fun that they stayed together until 1975.

(Please click on the first track under the “Listen" tab to hear a live recording from Berlin in 1970 of “Sermon On The Mount", which is from “The Light In The Wilderness", the very first work that Jack ever played with Dave. Gerry Mulligan is on baritone sax with Alan Dawson on drums)

After 1975, Chris Brubeck took over the bass chair, on electric bass, with the New Brubeck Quartet. When the sons went in different directions, Chris stayed with his father, with Randy Jones on drums and either Bill Smith on clarinet or Bobby Militello on alto sax and flute.

Jack rejoined the Quartet in 1988 and played through June of 1998. He recorded several albums for MusicMasters and Telarc, as well as the DVD “Brubeck Returns To Moscow."

(Please click on the second track under the “Listen" tab to an “after hours" recording session from the Blue Note jazz club in New York City for a performance featuring Jack on “River Stay ‘Way From My Door". Bobby Militello is on alto sax with Randy Jones on drums)

How to describe Frank Modica, Jr. except to say that, as Dave’s agent, he was dedicated to protecting Dave Brubeck. While Jack Six was on stage every night, Frank was always in the background, having negotiated the best possible deal for every engagement. That is the job of a professional agent, and Frank was one of the best. Oh sure, he was “old school". How many times did he leave a recorded message by saying “Call me back station-to-station"?

At various times in his career as an agent he represented artists such as Harry James, Nancy Wilson, Johnny Mathis, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Atkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Sarah Vaughan. He began his association with Dave in 1971 and continued right up to when Dave stopped performing in 2011.

He was a bulldog when dealing with promoters, but was well respected by all that knew him.

Jack Six and Frank Modica, Jr.

True friends.

They will be missed