News / Arts & Entertainment

Pioneering Jazz Musician Dave Brubeck Dies

Kennedy Center honoree Dave Brubeck talks with the media at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors Dec. 6, 2009.
Kennedy Center honoree Dave Brubeck talks with the media at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors Dec. 6, 2009.
Doug Levine
Jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck died Wednesday in Norwalk, Connecticut of heart failure.  He was 91.  Brubeck rose to fame in the 1950s and became known the world over.  His recordings cover a wide spectrum of music including jazz, classical, spiritual and even pop. 

Many believe that Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo A La Turk" from his groundbreaking 1959 album "Time Out" ushered in a new era for jazz.  Like others on the album, it was a song that combined complex time signatures with classical, jazz and Third World rhythms.

Remembering Dave Brubeck
Remembering Dave Brubecki
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

David Warren Brubeck was born in Concord, California and was first exposed to music by his mother, a classically trained piano teacher.  He discovered jazz improvisation while studying with French composer Darius Milhaud.  His interest in jazz was fueled by the formation of the Dave Brubeck Quartet and his own label Fantasy Records. 

Following World War II, his group found work in small towns across America.  Brubeck said those thriving jazz clubs provided his finest training.   

"When I grew up almost every bar had a small combo and there were dance halls that we used to drive across this country, from one dance hall -- and maybe 200 or 300 miles -- the next day we'd be in a different dance hall.  Great dance halls clear across the open part of Nebraska and those towns, and we'd come across that way.  It's changed a lot because most of our jazz now is in the universities and colleges [that] have taken over the old way that we used to have...a way to learn was one-on-one next to an old veteran."

The Dave Brubeck Quartet consisted of Paul Desmond on alto saxophone, Joe Morello on drums, Eugene Wright on bass and Dave Brubeck on piano when they recorded the Desmond classic "Take Five."  The song was so successful that it earned a spot on the popular music charts. 

FILE - This 1956 file photo shows Dave Brubeck, American composer, pianist and jazz musician.FILE - This 1956 file photo shows Dave Brubeck, American composer, pianist and jazz musician.
x
FILE - This 1956 file photo shows Dave Brubeck, American composer, pianist and jazz musician.
FILE - This 1956 file photo shows Dave Brubeck, American composer, pianist and jazz musician.
One of Brubeck’s best-selling albums was "Jazz Goes To College," recorded in American coffeehouses and college auditoriums during a tour in 1954.  It sold more than a million copies and landed Brubeck on the cover of Time magazine. 

Brubeck believed that the younger generation played an important role in shaping the direction of jazz.  

"What we're going to have now is the individual who's come out of this group of people that respect the past," he said. "Because you really can't take a step forward until you know what was behind you."

The Dave Brubeck Quartet continued to tour and record until 1967 when Brubeck decided to pursue jazz-based symphonic works and sacred music.  A seasoned world traveler, he recorded several albums based on his reflections of other cultures.  Among them, were "Jazz Impressions of Eurasia," "Jazz Impressions of Japan" and "Moscow Night." 



In 1993, Dave Brubeck teamed up with his sons Chris on bass and Dan on drums to record "Trio Brubeck."  Three years later, he won a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2009, he was the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor.  His son Chris once remarked, "Making music together is the most natural thing in the world for this family."
 
Dave Brubeck died Wednesday December 5, one day before his 92nd birthday.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."