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Requiescat in pace: Dave Brubeck, jazz giant and convert to Catholicism from "nothing"
InsightScoop.typepad.com ^ | December 2012 | Carl OIson

Posted on 12/06/2012 6:13:12 PM PST by Salvation

Requiescat in pace: Dave Brubeck, jazz giant and convert to Catholicism from "nothing"

Dave Brubeck, legendary jazz pianist and pioneer, died earlier today on the cusp of his 92nd birthday. From the Chicago Tribune:

Dave Brubeck, a jazz musician who attained pop-star acclaim with recordings such as "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk," died Wednesday morning at Norwalk Hospital, in Norwalk, Conn., said his longtime manager-producer-conductor Russell Gloyd.

Brubeck was one day short of his 92nd birthday. He died of heart failure, en route to "a regular treatment with his cardiologist,” said Gloyd.

Throughout his career, Brubeck defied conventions long imposed on jazz musicians. The tricky meters he played in “Take Five” and other works transcended standard conceptions of swing rhythm.


The extended choral/symphonic works he penned and performed around the world took him well outside the accepted boundaries of jazz. And the concerts he brought to colleges across the country in the 1950s shattered the then-long-held notion that jazz had no place in academia.

As a pianist, he applied the classical influences of his teacher, the French master Darius Milhaud, to jazz, playing with an elegance of tone and phrase that supposedly were the antithesis of the American sound.

The New York Times has a lengthy obituary that highlights Brubeck's long, active, and prolific life as musician and composer:

In 1954 Mr. Brubeck was the first jazz musician to be featured on the cover of Time magazine. That same year he signed with Columbia Records, promising to deliver two albums a year, and built a house in Oakland.

For all his conceptualizing, Mr. Brubeck often seemed more guileless and stubborn country boy than intellectual. It is often noted that his piece “The Duke” — famously recorded by Miles Davis and Gil Evans in 1959 on their collaborative album “Miles Ahead” — runs through all 12 keys in the first eight bars. But Mr. Brubeck contended that he never realized that until a music professor told him.

Mr. Brubeck’s very personal musical language situated him far from the Bud Powell school of bebop rhythm and harmony; he relied much more on chords, lots and lots of them, than on sizzling, hornlike right-hand lines. (He may have come by this outsiderness naturally, as a function of his background: jazz by way of rural isolation and modernist academia. He was, Ted Gioia wrote in his book “West Coast Jazz,” “inspired by the process of improvisation rather than by its history.”)

It took a little while for Mr. Brubeck to capitalize on the greater visibility his deal with Columbia gave him, and as he accommodated success a certain segment of the jazz audience began to turn against him. (The 1957 album “Dave Digs Disney,” on which he played songs from Walt Disney movies, didn’t help his credibility among critics and connoisseurs.) Still, by the end of the decade he had broken through with mainstream audiences in a bigger way than almost any jazz musician since World War II.

In 1958, as part of a State Department program that brought jazz as an offer of good will during the cold war, his quartet traveled in the Middle East and India, and Mr. Brubeck became intrigued by musical languages that didn’t stick to 4/4 time — what he called “march-style jazz,” the meter that had been the music’s bedrock. The result was the album “Time Out,” recorded in 1959. With the hits “Take Five” (composed by Mr. Desmond in 5/4 meter and prominently featuring the quartet’s gifted drummer, Joe Morello) and “Blue Rondo à la Turk” (composed by Mr. Brubeck in 9/8), the album propelled Mr. Brubeck onto the pop charts. ...

As a composer, Mr. Brubeck used jazz to address religious themes and to bridge social and political divides. His cantata “The Gates of Justice,” from 1969, dealt with blacks and Jews in America; another cantata, “Truth Is Fallen” (1972), lamented the killing of student protesters at Kent State University in 1970, with a score including orchestra, electric guitars and police sirens. He played during the Reagan-Gorbachev summit meeting in 1988; he composed entrance music for Pope John Paul II’s visit to Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1987; he performed for eight presidents, from Kennedy to Clinton.

Much more about Brubeck's life and discography can be found on the All Music Guide site. As Deacon Greg Kandra points out (and I noted in this May 2011 post), Brubeck was also a convert, in 1980, to the Catholic Church. This 2009 article in St. Anthony Messenger states:

To Hope! A Celebration was Brubeck’s first encounter with the Roman Catholic Mass, written at a time when he belonged to no denomination or faith community. It was commissioned by Our Sunday Visitor editor Ed Murray, who wanted a serious piece on the revised Roman ritual, not a pop or jazz Mass, but one that reflected the American Catholic experience.

The writing was to have a profound effect on Brubeck’s life. A short time before its premiere in 1980 a priest asked why there was no Our Father section of the Mass. Brubeck recalls first inquiring, “What’s the Our Father?” (he knew it as The Lord’s Prayer) and saying, “They didn’t ask me to do that.”

He resolved not to make the addition that, in his mind, would wreak havoc with the composition as he had created it. He told the priest, “No, I’m going on vacation and I’ve taken a lot of time from my wife and family. I want to be with them and not worry about music.”

“So the first night we were in the Caribbean, I dreamt the Our Father,” Brubeck says, recalling that he hopped out of bed to write down as much as he could remember from his dream state. At that moment he decided to add that piece to the Mass and to become a Catholic.

He has adamantly asserted for years that he is not a convert, saying to be a convert you needed to be something first. He continues to define himself as being “nothing” before being welcomed into the Church.

His Mass has been performed throughout the world, including in the former Soviet Union in 1997 (when Russia was considering adopting a state religion) and for Pope John Paul II in San Francisco during the pontiff’s 1987 pilgrimage to the United States. At the latter celebration, Brubeck was asked to write an additional processional piece for the pope’s entrance into Candlestick Park.

Again, it was a dream that led him to accept a sacred music project that he initially refused as not workable. The dream “was more of a realizing that I could write what I wanted for the music,” Brubeck says.

“They needed nine minutes and they gave me a sentence, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church and the jaws of hell cannot prevail against it.’ So rather than dream musically, I dreamed practically that Bach would have taken one sentence in a chorale and fugue, as he often did, and that was the answer,” he says. “So I decided that I would do that piece for the pope,” which is known as “Upon This Rock.”

If I might, here are some thoughts from a post I wrote last year on the "catholicity of jazz", with a reference to Brubeck:

Brubeck composed a piece, "To Hope! A Celebration Mass" in 1996 that seems to have a much more classical/European sound to it. Regardless, I've long said that I never want to hear jazz at Mass, now matter how well it is played or composed, for while jazz is very beautiful, powerful, and even spiritual (in the best sense of that word), it's very nature—improvisational, largely profane (in the correct sense of that word)—is not well-suited, in my judgment, to liturgical settings.

But I would also insist that outside of liturgical settings, good jazz is good music, which means it is an artistic expression in keeping with Catholicism, which prizes and recognizes all that is good, true, and beautiful. Personal tastes differ, it goes without saying, and I can only take a little bit of Ornette Coleman or Cecil Taylor before I turn to the Blue Note albums of the 1950s and '60s, or the trio albums of Keith Jarrett, or the recent works of Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Roy Hargrove, and so forth. Great jazz, to my mind and ear, is a marvelous combination of structure and improvisation, where intelligent musical conversation takes place upon a chosen, mutual theme, revealing both the individual thoughts/voices of those participating, as well as the deeper meaning and heart of the piece they are playing. It is a music that recognizes and honors and draws upon tradition while speaking about and within that tradition in the here and now. In my mind, jazz bears a certain analogy to the human condition: we are creatures endowed with great freedom, but freedom is to be exercised in pursuing the good, recognizing and respecting the limits and boundaries of our nature and of creation as established by God the Creator.

May God grant him eternal rest!



TOPICS: Catholic; Prayer; Theology
KEYWORDS: brubeck; catholic; convert; davebrubeck; davidbrubeck; jazz; music; obituary
I'm not familiar with this Mass. Anyone?
1 posted on 12/06/2012 6:13:23 PM PST by Salvation
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To: Salvation
I'm not familiar either, but you can bet I'm looking it up now....

Thanks so much for posting this!!

2 posted on 12/06/2012 6:21:07 PM PST by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

Convert Ping!


3 posted on 12/06/2012 6:32:06 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Well, here's Miles playing 'The Duke'. Those Conn Recording Tubas sound great, but darn are they heavy.

And here's a little bit of Brubeck's Mass.

4 posted on 12/06/2012 6:39:20 PM PST by real saxophonist (Stay In The Fight)
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To: real saxophonist

And while we’re all at it...let’s check out Art Pepper and/or Gato Barbieri.


5 posted on 12/06/2012 6:43:37 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: Salvation
Lord God Jesus Christ,

Bring home the soul of Thy servant David and rest him with the saints.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, amen.


6 posted on 12/06/2012 6:56:10 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: real saxophonist
bookmarked
7 posted on 12/06/2012 6:57:18 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: real saxophonist
in Drum Corps, the Contras are carried on the shoulder but with a smaller straight bell
8 posted on 12/06/2012 7:01:11 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: Chode
If you look at orchestral tubas, the bells always point straight up. Conn came up with the bell-front Recording Tuba, because it was easier to mike. Even the first Sousaphones had their bells straight up.

in Drum Corps, the Contras are carried on the shoulder but with a smaller straight bell

I might know a little about that:


Spirit of Atlanta Contra 1983-1986

9 posted on 12/06/2012 7:34:13 PM PST by real saxophonist (Stay In The Fight)
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To: BartMan1; Nailbiter; stanley windrush

ping


10 posted on 12/06/2012 7:40:45 PM PST by IncPen (Educating Barack Obama has been the most expensive project in human history)
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: Salvation

I have been out of the loop...didn’t realize he passed away.

Love his music. Just love it.

Thank you, Dave Brubeck. Glad you found God, may you rest in peace...


12 posted on 12/06/2012 7:45:46 PM PST by rlmorel (1793 French Jacobins and 2012 American Liberals have a lot in common.)
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To: Salvation

This world is hard. Take Five, Dave.


13 posted on 12/06/2012 7:52:05 PM PST by Beowulf9
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To: real saxophonist
sweet!!! Watkins Glen Squires, Third Soprano - 65-72...

i marched with Rondon(the DCI announcer) from the beginning

14 posted on 12/06/2012 7:53:15 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: real saxophonist; Chode; All
If you haven't seen it, check out this video of The Dave Brubeck Quartet Plays "Take Five" in 1964. (I think)

Just beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes, just watching it again. The beauty of jazz right there, every single reason why I love jazz just rolled into one video of a song...

15 posted on 12/06/2012 7:55:48 PM PST by rlmorel (1793 French Jacobins and 2012 American Liberals have a lot in common.)
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To: rlmorel
nice stencil in #11... i saw it before it got yanked, why that was i'll never know and yes the 70's were a golden age for Drum Corps
16 posted on 12/06/2012 7:59:23 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: rlmorel
see post #14
17 posted on 12/06/2012 8:01:07 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: Chode

I just asked why, but didn’t get a response yet. Puzzling. Maybe it was because I used the words He double hockey stick and the slang word for posterior that begins with “A”.


18 posted on 12/06/2012 8:01:32 PM PST by rlmorel (1793 French Jacobins and 2012 American Liberals have a lot in common.)
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To: Chode

GREAT shows, Watkins Glen Squires! I had one of their shows on tape...remember when the only way to get the music was to record it yourself or buy the composite tapes from Drum Corps News?


19 posted on 12/06/2012 8:03:23 PM PST by rlmorel (1793 French Jacobins and 2012 American Liberals have a lot in common.)
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To: Chode
LOL...it was pulled due to language. I didn't realize I was in the religion forum, so I have no complaints. I figured I would post it again without the language...:)

1974 Kingsmen, 1975 Madison Scouts, 1975 Muchachos and 1976 Blue Devils...

Best.

Shows.

Ever.

The golden age of Drum and Bugle Corps, if you ask me...:)

Good to see there are some of you on here!

I made this stencil from a picture out of Drum Corps News back in 1977, and stenciled it on the back of my flight deck jerseys when I was serving in the US Navy.

Funny. Nobody ever told me I couldn't do it. I can't imagine doing it now, I bet some by-the-book petty officer would tell me it was not regulation...:)

Heck. I guess it wasn't, so I wouldn't have been able to complain...

20 posted on 12/06/2012 8:10:02 PM PST by rlmorel (1793 French Jacobins and 2012 American Liberals have a lot in common.)
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To: rlmorel
Oh my God,that was beautiful.

And they had such CLASS.

I used to get to Birdland occasionally in the fifties.Nothing like jazz.

.

21 posted on 12/06/2012 8:13:13 PM PST by Mears
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To: Mears

Wasn’t it great? I just stumbled on this a few weeks ago...I think what struck me was watching Brubeck play piano, and it looked like his fingers weren’t even really moving much, but watching the hammers move, you could see he was doing a lot!


22 posted on 12/06/2012 8:18:22 PM PST by rlmorel (1793 French Jacobins and 2012 American Liberals have a lot in common.)
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To: gorush

I just finished Michael Connelly’s “The Black Box” and the
main character is an Art Pepper fan.

.


23 posted on 12/06/2012 8:19:10 PM PST by Mears
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To: rlmorel
yup... i still have a few 3or4 inch reals someplace my parents recorded from the stands

one of our local rivals were the Mello Dears, an all girl Corps, those were the days... and nights 8^)

24 posted on 12/06/2012 8:22:27 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: rlmorel

Very good video. Paul Desmond was called the ‘whispering saxophonist’ because of his airy tone. I much preferred a harder tone, such as that of Cannonball Adderley, so I didn’t listen to much Desmond when I was developing my sound.


25 posted on 12/06/2012 8:22:47 PM PST by real saxophonist (Stay In The Fight)
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To: Salvation

I’m sorry we bunch of scraggly musicians have hijacked your thread.


26 posted on 12/06/2012 8:24:58 PM PST by real saxophonist (Stay In The Fight)
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To: gorush
witchi tai to...
27 posted on 12/06/2012 8:25:51 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: rlmorel

Thank you so much for sharing this. My reaction is same as your’s - just beautiful. This song touches the soul!


28 posted on 12/06/2012 8:26:17 PM PST by untwist
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: real saxophonist

Alto saxoffonist Mike Migliore used to play with May-Nard.


30 posted on 12/06/2012 8:33:28 PM PST by real saxophonist (Stay In The Fight)
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To: real saxophonist

I’m enjoying it, not to worry — just remember that it got posoted on the Religion Forum and there are rules here.

Used to play drums, marimba and tympani


31 posted on 12/06/2012 8:35:45 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: real saxophonist; Chode
Great corps! I saw them in Birmingham, AL at the DCI finals. One of my best friends was one of the top sopranos with the 27th Lancers in 1978-1980 and he got me a place on the alumni corps that did a demo at the DCI finals in 1994.

(I'm the one on the left! I learned to play a baritone to do it, had never played one before...:)

I had so much fun doing that...heh, my buddy is the guy on the far right.

32 posted on 12/06/2012 8:43:32 PM PST by rlmorel (1793 French Jacobins and 2012 American Liberals have a lot in common.)
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To: real saxophonist

My absolute favorite was Ben Webster. I really got into saxophone for about 15 while I taught myself to play, and got as much to listen to as I could. I could literally hear about two or three notes from a player and identify who it was...I was quite proud of myself...:)

My second favorite sound is John Coltrane, specifically in his “Ballads” album. Some of the more avant garde stuff he did, not so much.


33 posted on 12/06/2012 8:48:23 PM PST by rlmorel (1793 French Jacobins and 2012 American Liberals have a lot in common.)
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To: Salvation
I speak Drum. Hope I'm staying within the rules. Rarely venture into the Religion forum. But with all this talk about Brubeck I had to.

I will leave you with some Mike Migliore with May-Nard.

34 posted on 12/06/2012 8:49:53 PM PST by real saxophonist (Stay In The Fight)
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To: Salvation

LOL...I keep forgetting this isn’t my thread...I will stop hijacking it as well. Just got carried away, don’t run into many Drum & Bugle Corps folks anymore...:)


35 posted on 12/06/2012 8:51:37 PM PST by rlmorel (1793 French Jacobins and 2012 American Liberals have a lot in common.)
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To: rlmorel

Two Seven!


36 posted on 12/06/2012 8:54:26 PM PST by real saxophonist (Stay In The Fight)
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To: rlmorel
Trane was a very important piece of the puzzle, but Dexter Gordon was the main reference for my sound.

And then along came Michael Brecker and David Murray...

37 posted on 12/06/2012 8:59:28 PM PST by real saxophonist (Stay In The Fight)
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To: real saxophonist

I was obsessed with the “Round Midnight” album for a period of time, because I was right in the middle of learning how to play and that album just hit the spot for me.


38 posted on 12/06/2012 9:05:17 PM PST by rlmorel (1793 French Jacobins and 2012 American Liberals have a lot in common.)
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To: Salvation

bumpus ad summum


39 posted on 12/06/2012 9:34:55 PM PST by Dajjal (Justice Robert Jackson was wrong -- the Constitution IS a suicide pact.)
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To: Salvation

bookmark


40 posted on 12/06/2012 10:42:11 PM PST by GOP Poet
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To: dayglored

Amen, Rest in peace, brother Dave.


41 posted on 12/07/2012 3:58:56 AM PST by RobbyS (Christus rex.)
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To: Salvation
Well, Salvation, while we Drum Corps people have your thread hijacked, I might as well say that my alma mater Spirit of Atlanta has always used as an on-field warmup a piece called Salvation is Created.

I always thought it was a Bach Chorale, but it was actually written by a Russian named Pavel Tchesnokov. Our arrangement was by the late Jim Ott.

Kinda brought the topic back to Religion...

42 posted on 12/07/2012 5:21:44 AM PST by real saxophonist (Stay In The Fight)
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To: rlmorel

Thanks for that link. It is a much better quality video of the quartet than the ones on YouTube.


43 posted on 12/07/2012 7:34:42 AM PST by ELS (Vivat Benedictus XVI!)
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To: Salvation
‘Upon this rock I will build my Church and the jaws of hell cannot prevail against it.’

Apparently his inspiration for his "Upon this Rock". Emphasis added.

Curious, I never read that particular translation. Anyone know which one it is? I always thought that was translated as "gates".

44 posted on 12/07/2012 8:33:15 AM PST by FourtySeven (47)
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To: Mears

I originally heard about Art from Harry as well.


45 posted on 12/07/2012 1:59:02 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: dayglored

Thanks for the thread, and thanks to all on the thread for the cool links.

RIP Brubeck: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kc34Uj8wlmE (Rondo ala Turk)


46 posted on 12/07/2012 2:40:52 PM PST by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: gorush

Connelly is terrific.I’ve read all of his books.

Last week I read his latest and John Sandford’s latest.

A great reading week.

.


47 posted on 12/07/2012 5:44:17 PM PST by Mears
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To: Salvation

48 posted on 12/07/2012 8:09:00 PM PST by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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