Jazz legend Dave Brubeck dies at 91
Published 05/12/2012 | 18:04
Pioneering jazz composer and pianist Dave Brubeck has died.
Russell Gloyd, Brubeck's manager, said he died on Wednesday morning in Connecticut of heart failure, after being taken ill while on his way to a cardiology appointment with his son. He would have turned 92 on Thursday.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet's pieces such as "Take Five" caught listeners' ears with exotic, challenging rhythms and became enduring standards.
Brubeck had a career that spanned almost all American jazz since the Second World War He formed The Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1951 and was the first modern jazz musician to be pictured on the cover of Time magazine - on November 8, 1954 - and he helped define the swinging, smoky rhythms of 1950s and '60s club jazz.
The seminal album "Time Out," released by the quartet in 1959, was the first ever million-selling jazz LP, and is still among the best-selling jazz albums of all time. It opens with "Blue Rondo a la Turk" in 9/8 time - nine beats to the measure instead of the customary two, three or four beats.
At the age of 88, in 2009, Brubeck was still touring, in spite of a viral infection that threatened his heart and made him miss an April show at his alma mater, the University of the Pacific.
Brubeck and his wife, Iola, had five sons and a daughter. Four of his sons - Chris on trombone and electric bass, Dan on drums, Darius on keyboards and Matthew on cello - played with the London Symphony Orchestra in a birthday tribute to Brubeck in December 2000.
"We never had a rift," Chris Brubeck once said of living and playing with his father. "I think music has always been a good communication tool, so we didn't have a rift. We've always had music in common."
Radio 3 presenter Alyn Shipton was among those who paid tribute to Brubeck tonight, calling him "truly one of the most influential musical figures not only in jazz but in music in the 20th century".
He said: "Dave Brubeck proved to the world that jazz could swing as effectively with five beats to the bar as with four, and the range of different time signatures on his album Time Out in 1959 revolutionised the music."