I didn’t realize that Dave Brubeck died on Wednesday, just a few days short of his 92nd birthday. Here is a bit of his bio:
Born Dec. 6, 1920, to a California ranching family, Brubeck’s religious sensibilities awakened during World War II when he served in Gen. George Patton’s famed 3rd Army. In an interview with Hedrick Smith for the PBS program Rediscovering Dave Brubeck, he said, “So many of my friends got killed in World War II. On the parachute landing on D-Day, one of my friends got shot in the air in his harness of his parachute.” Brubeck said he started asking himself, “Why am I here? Why did they get killed?” Initially, though, he said he turned not to God but to hard work. Brubeck resolved, “I’m alive and I’m gonna do as much as I can.”
And he did. His post-war productivity was remarkable. Not only did the poly-rhythms of such songs as “Take Six” and “Blue Rondo” capture America’s post-war energies, Brubeck’s output—as many as 250 concerts and four albums a year—turned him into a jazz superstar in the 1950s and ’60s.
Some musicians and critics resented Brubeck’s success, saying he capitalized on an audience that black musicians had built. Others dismissed Brubeck’s music as “West Coast Jazz” or “Cool Jazz” or even “White Man’s Jazz.” But the criticism faded after Brubeck canceled 23 of 25 concerts—many of them on college campuses in the South—when he discovered that his black bass player Eugene Wright would not be welcome. After that, Brubeck, Wright, and the rest of the band were welcomed at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, N.Y., and at both black and white colleges throughout the country.
Read the rest here.
And here is one of his most famous numbers: