I would bring him albums and cd's I thought he would like. One day I played a song for him. It was the second cut on Brubeck's Time Out. I told him that it just reminded me of his personality. He was really interested. I started the song. It starts with this extended solo intro. Just Dave playing all romantically. The old man looks at me--he likes it ok but it certainly is not him. But then Dave wraps up and descends in these block chords and the drums come in to back Paul Desmond's lush sax solo. Tears are in my pop's eyes. He gets it. It's cool, relaxed, smooth, knowing. It's my dad the way he wants to see himself. It was a great moment for us.
I never really knew the name of that tune although I could probably play the melody by memory. A few days ago, I downloaded that album into my I-Tunes. The tune is called Strange Meadowlark. Apparently the first phrase of notes are based on the call of the Meadowlarks Dave grew up listening to in California. It struck me as funny, and a bit ironic. One of the only black celebrities that I remember my dad just unreservedly loving was Meadowlark Lemon of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Here's "Strange Meadow Lark" by Dave Brubeck.