A day before his 92nd birthday, one of the greatest jazz musicians of all times passed away on December 5, 2012: piano player and composer/arranger Dave Brubeck, the creator of inmortal songs like Take Five, Blue Rondo alla Turk, and many other compositions which became jazz standards every serious jazz musician knows and plays occasionally.
Dave Brubeck’s received a classical piano education. His career began in 1951, when he appeared on the american jazz scene with his band called the Dave Brubeck Quartet. In the following 61 years he wrote about 400 jazz songs and released roughly 100 albums. Furthermore, Brubeck did compositions for string quartet, choir and for movies.
His most famous jazz composition was Take Five, which was released on the album Time Out in 1959 and became the first jazz album sold more than a million times. Take Five is not written in the usual 4/4 time, instead it features a 5/4 rhythm, a composed meter of 2/4 and 3/4. Dave Brubeck loved unusual time signatures and published several songs in strange meters like Blue Rondo a la Turk, which is written in a 9/8 time signature Pick Up Sticks written in 6/4 time, Unsquare Dance, which is an example of a 7/4 meter and World’s Fair which has a unusually long time signature of 13/4.
Listen to Take Five composed and performed by Dave Brubeck on piano with Paul Desmond on alto sax. This song is a genuine jazz standard, however, as the song has become famous all over the world, it is known by many people who listen to other music styles.
As a person, Dave Brubeck was recognized as an indomitable spirit. For example, he threatened with cancelling his concert when some of the organizers complained about his band because it integrated black musicians.
In our series about jazz history -Jazz it up- we will mention Dave Brubeck in repeated occasions. He passed away, but his music lives on forever. Rest in peace Dave Brubeck,