"Uh, yes, I'm trying to set up an interview with Dave Brubeck.""Just a second."
(Deeper voice) "Hello?"
"Uh, hello, I'm wanting to arrange an interview with Dave Brubeck. Is this his agent?"
"This is Dave Brubeck."
Jazz legend Dave Brubeck has never been the type to get on his high horse. In contrast to even obscure artists who erect barricades of agents and managers and appointment times and confirmation phone calls in order to reach them, all it takes is one phone call to what turns out to be Brubeck's Connecticut home to talk to him.
You probably won't get to talk to Brubeck this week, but if you're lucky enough to have a ticket, you'll get to hear the pianist Tuesday and Wednesday at two sold-out Jazz at the Hilton concerts.
Brubeck isn't the obscure musician whom critics love and audiences ignore. His version of jazz is accessible to the masses - surprisingly so, given his penchant for experimentation.
His biggest hit, 1959's "Take Five," stayed near the top of the pop charts for months. But, ironically, Columbia Records initially didn't want to distribute "Time Out."
The dispute went all the way to Columbia's president, who listened to the album and loved it.
"Time Out" became a monster seller. During the preceding years Brubeck had been trying to do the club scene.
"When I played my own compositions in the '40s, they were too avant-garde - no nightclub was interested in what we were doing," he said. "It was very advanced - it was way ahead of other movements in the country.
"Finally, when we couldn't make a living, I played all standard tunes that the public knew."
Then, one night Brubeck's long-time saxophonist, Paul Desmond, said the group needed someone to write some original tunes.
Brubeck's response: "You're kidding." He sat down and in less than 30 minutes had written two pieces, one of which, "In Your Own Sweet Way," has since become a jazz standard.
Brubeck came to define and shape jazz for a generation, pioneering the West Coast or "cool jazz" sound. Since the "Time Out" album, he has recorded 137 records or CDs.
Brubeck, 77, has written 10 cantatas and oratorios. And he just returned from Moscow, where he performed his original Mass with the Moscow Symphony.
Brubeck will bring bassist Jack Six, drummer Randy Jones and woodwinds player Bobby Militello to Salt Lake City with him. The concerts are at 8 p.m. in the Seasons Ballroom.