Legendary Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck passed away this morning (December 5) – Just one day short of his 92nd birthday.
Brubeck’s long-time manager and producer Russell Gloyd confirmed his death, saying Brubeck suffered heart failure while on his way to a scheduled appointment with a cardiologist, accompanied by his son. He died at Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut.
A true legend of Jazz, Dave Brubeck achieved notoriety and became a person of significant influence in Jazz following his infamous recording of alto saxophonist Paul Desmond‘s “Take Five” with The Dave Brubeck Quartet. The song was incredibly unique, with a challenging rhythm and use of a quintuple meter (5/4 time – something that is rarely seen in Jazz, even to this day…) that solidified its place as one of the most influential Jazz recordings of all time.
In the same way that “Take Five” bucked swing music traditions; Brubeck made a point of bucking convention in not only his compositions and tone, but also in his personal life. A self-described humanist, he was a firm believer in racial integration, playing at black Jazz clubs at the height of racial tensions during the African-American Civil Rights Movement.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet also set a high benchmark for commercial success in the jazz world. Their 1959 album ‘Time Out’ becoming the first ever Jazz album to go Platinum, selling more than one million records.
Dave Brubeck truly changed the face of Jazz, and will be missed.
Listen to “Take Five” by the Dave Brubeck Quartet below: