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Dave Brubeck, 1920 – 2012


The Brubeck Quartet was a fixture of jazz festivals, clubs, and college campuses throughout the 50’s and 60’s.  Along with Paul Desmond (alto) and Joe Morello (drums) was African American bassist Gene Wright.  “Take Five” and “Blue Rondo a la Turk” are two of the group’s biggest, most influential hit tunes. 


Brubeck studied piano and composition with the noted French classical composer Darius Milhaud, and later composed oratorios and other classically influenced works.  He utilized unusual time signatures and was always stretching out into uncharted areas.  Some of his signature works include the albums TIME OUT and JAZZ IMPRESSIONS OF JAPAN, to mention just two from an extensive list.  The joyous, swinging sound of his band introduced a great many listeners to serious jazz for the first time.   He carried out some very successful collaborations with Gerry Mulligan.  Three of Dave’s sons have gone on to carve out careers in music:  Chris, trombone; Daniel, drums; and Darius, piano.


Brubeck refused to play any concert or venue in the South where either the band or audience was subject to segregation. 


Photograph by Roger Kallins. Courtesy of Patricia Darlington.


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