Dave Brubeck (1920–2012)

Dave Brubeck at the White House in 2009

Born:

6th December 1920 in Concord, California, USA.

Died:

5th December 2012 in Norwalk, Connecticut, USA.

Some famous singles:
  • Take Five. (See below for a video.)
  • Blue Rondo à la Turk.
Some great albums:
  • Time Out (1959).
  • Time Further Out (1961).
  • At Carnegie Hall (1963).
Some interesting facts:
  • He was a piano player and composer.
  • He was one of the great ‘cool jazz’ artists. [Cool jazz is ‘cool’—it sounds a bit laid-back.]
  • He formed the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1951 (a quartet is a group of four musicians playing together). It was this quartet that made the famous album ‘Time Out’, as well as the other two listed above.
  • He did not compose the very famous single ‘Take Five’. It was composed by the saxophone player in his Quartet, Paul Desmond.
  • He did compose the other numbers on ‘Take Five’, however.
  • ‘Time Out’ was only meant to be an experiment! The Quartet certainly wasn’t expecting it to be so successful.
  • (For those who know a little bit about music theory, ‘Time Out’ experimented with time signatures. The pieces on this album have unusual time signatures, such as 5/4 and 9/8. The very famous ‘Take Five’ is in 5/4.)
  • The famous Dave Brubeck Quartet ended in 1967 when Paul Desmond left. However, Dave Brubeck made another quartet the next year. This new Dave Brubeck Quartet is still going.
  • He didn’t just compose jazz. He also composed a lot of classical music, including ballet.
  • Four out of Brubeck’s six children are also professional musicians.
  • His piano playing may have saved his life in World War Two—he was in the army, but didn’t fight in America’s most deadly battle becuase he was playing at a show for the Red Cross!
  • He studied music at university, but was nearly thrown out when the professors realised that he couldn’t read music! (He did learn to read music later!) He was only allowed to graduate if he promised never to teach the piano!
Official Website

Here is a video of the Dave Brubeck Quartet playing his most famous piece, Take Five (which he did not write himself). Dave Brubeck is the man playing the piano.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet playing ‘Take Five’

Here is a video of the quartet playing a piece that Dave Brubeck did write, It’s a Raggy Waltz.

Dave Brubeck playing ‘It’s a Raggy Waltz’

Picture credits:
  1. Dave Brubeck. This photograph was taken on the 8th October 1954 October by the Carl Van Vechten. The image is in the public domain. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information.
  2. Dave Brubeck at the White House in 2009. This photograpgh was taken on the 6th December 2009 by the U.S federal government while Dave Brubeck was attending the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors. The image is in the public domain. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information.
Video credits:
  1. The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Take Five (1961). The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Take Five (1961)
    Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Joe Morello and Gene Wright.
  2. Dave Brubeck Quartet – It’s A Raggy Waltz. Dave Brubeck Quartet – It’s A Raggy Waltz (filmclip ’62).

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