RIP: Dave Brubeck, 91


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Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 5, 2012 - 12:30pm PT
Dave Brubeck, a jazz musician who attained pop-star acclaim with recordings such as "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk," died Wednesday morning at Norwalk Hospital, in Norwalk, Conn., said his longtime manager-producer-conductor Russell Gloyd.

Brubeck was one day short of his 92nd birthday. He died of heart failure, en route to "a regular treatment with his cardiologist, said Gloyd.,0,7126256.column


Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Dec 5, 2012 - 12:34pm PT
Wow. Always admired Brubeck. So freekin' smooth.

Thanks for all the sonic rides man. RIP

Take Five blew me away enough times that I had to learn it on guitar!


Trad climber
Dec 5, 2012 - 12:35pm PT
Oh man. I think I'm gonna take five and play me some records in remembrance.

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Dec 5, 2012 - 12:36pm PT
Anyone in L.A. remember KKGO ?

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
Dec 5, 2012 - 12:58pm PT
Thanks for the music..... Good to see he was Honored, and greatly enjoyed the evening ....

Dave Brubeck @ The Kennedy Center honors...2009


Mountain climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 5, 2012 - 01:18pm PT
He will be missed. I feel lucky to have seen him, about 7 or so years ago in Boston. It was his birthday that day, and we (the audience) sang "happy birthday" to him. It was a really cool moment.

Blue Rondo A La Turk is my jam.

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Dec 5, 2012 - 02:24pm PT
That's sad news, but he had a great run. RIP

And I remember KKGO and KMZT, both variations sorely missed.

A long way from where I started
Dec 5, 2012 - 02:42pm PT
Sad news.

And while I love Take 5, and Blue Rondo just as much as the rest of you do, there is far more to both the man and his music than just those few tunes that became popular.

Dig into the music he made and you're in for a treat. Dig into his history a bit and you'll find a man who fought pretty hard against racism.


Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Dec 5, 2012 - 02:46pm PT
And while I love Take 5, and Blue Rondo just as much as the rest of you do, there is far more to both the man and his music than just those few tunes that became popular.

Oh yeah? Well STFU!!! Nah, just kidding man, you're absolutely right, as with most artists eh?

Mountain climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 5, 2012 - 02:46pm PT
Did someone just go hipster on us regarding DB tunes? I keep forgetting that if something is popular or well known then it's not cool to like it.


For the record, I am not one of those people that needs to be told to "check out his other stuff". ;)

Trad climber
Dec 5, 2012 - 02:47pm PT
Don Ellis led a big band in the late 60's early 70' and played a lot of tunes in weird time signatures. One of his musicians joked that the only song they played in 4/4 was Take5.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Dec 5, 2012 - 02:59pm PT
This is a nice 1/2 hour:

Thanks for all the fun !

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Dec 5, 2012 - 03:01pm PT
Whoa, take five!

Trad climber
under the sea
Dec 5, 2012 - 03:09pm PT
Uhhh no troll here, he really is dead.

philadelphia, pa
Dec 5, 2012 - 07:31pm PT
Anyway, very said Dave's passed. But frankly I've been amazes he's made it this long. I thought for sure he was going to collapse on stage when I saw him in '95... looked so tired, stepped to the side of the stage holding his heart.....

Saw him half a dozen more times since then, in both big shows and small ones. He would do an annual Christmas concert at a church here outside Philly, which was quite the small, intimate setting. Last time I caught him was at that church and he was with his kids (the Brubeck Brothers, also quite good). During the show he explained the secret to his songwriting... It was all about cadence and tempo, and usually came from a turn of phrase that caught his ear. He's take the beat of the words and turn it into a song. One of the songs he played was written for the woman who had organized this yearly concert for ages, and the beat was set by the cadence of her name. Was amazing to hear, as he talked the audience through chanting the name in unison, clapping it and then he used that as the intro to the song.

He'll be missed.

Trad climber
Dec 5, 2012 - 09:16pm PT
I played a series of concerts in NYC with him in 2001. We were playing in Madison Square park and this drunk homeless guy comes up to the stage and starts talking (or hollering) at Dave. As the security guys came rushing toward them, Dave waves them off, leans down and says to the homeless guy, "I'm really glad you came to my concert. Why don't you go sit under that tree over there, and I will play a song just for you." The guys sits down under the tree and Dave announces the next tune by saying, "This next song goes out to my old friend in the audience today." The guy sits under the tree for the rest of the show with a big grin, causing no trouble at all. It was cool the way that Dave defused the situation, and made it a great day for everyone.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Dec 5, 2012 - 09:45pm PT
Wow, Dave was gigging right up to the very end! I'll have to whip up a piano + trombone recording of Take Five and upload it somewhere so y'all can hear it. Hard little tune in six flats.

RIP Dave Brubeck - a truly great and innovative jazz musician.

Dec 5, 2012 - 10:28pm PT
Hueco Rat, that's a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it. I love Brubeck's music, one of the last greats from his generation. Rest in peace Dave, time to take five.

Social climber
Dec 6, 2012 - 08:03am PT
i just read the morning paper, and read about Mr. Brubeck's passing. since we're on slow time in ga. i had a feeling apogee had posted his demise.

a simple twist of fate lies in the fact that i was about to post a post a willie nelson song which features dave brubeck on the what song thread and was thinking about how old he must be!

RIP, Dave I can hear you tickling the ivory upstairs already.

apogee, how is it that you always seem ahead of the curve in learning when great ones pass? (a quesion with no derogatory intentions?)


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 6, 2012 - 12:55pm PT
Today's LA Times:

Jazz legend Dave Brubeck dies at 91

Pianist and composer Dave Brubeck won legions of fans over a six-decade career with his complex rhythms and harmonies. His quartet's 'Take Five' was the first million-selling jazz recording.

By Don Heckman

December 5, 2012, 4:33 p.m.

In the strait-laced Eisenhower 1950s, Dave Brubeck seemed, on one hand, deeply conventional. He didn't drink, smoke or take drugs. He favored expressions like "baloney!" and "you bet" over ruder alternatives. He had a prodigious work ethic that had been ground into him by his cowboy father on the family's California cattle ranch.

But rebellion was in Brubeck's soul. Schooled in piano by his musically gifted mother, he became a jazz man outwardly square but quintessentially cool whose genius at marrying spontaneity and unorthodox rhythms with classical forms became an enduring legacy.

Brubeck, the pianist and composer who pushed the boundaries of jazz for six decades and became one of the genre's most popular artists, died Wednesday, a day before his 92nd birthday.

The jazz maestro, who had a history of heart trouble, became unresponsive on his way to a medical appointment, said his longtime manager and producer Russell Gloyd. Brubeck's son, who was in the car with him, rushed him to a hospital in Norwalk, Conn., where he was pronounced dead.

Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell called Brubeck "a true musical giant. He helped to keep jazz at a truly high level and he was very consistent in both his performance and composition."

He was best known for his work with his classic Dave Brubeck Quartet, which included longtime musical partner Paul Desmond on alto saxophone, Eugene Wright on bass and Joe Morello on drums. Brubeck's innovative ideas generated an enthusiastic response from a new audience of young listeners as well as the players most directly connected with his music.

"When Dave is playing his best, it's a profoundly moving thing to experience, emotionally and intellectually," Desmond said in 1952 in the jazz publication Down Beat. "It's completely free, live improvisation ... the vigor and force of simple jazz, the harmonic complexities of Bartok and Milhaud, the form [and much of the dignity] of Bach and, at times, the lyrical romanticism of Rachmaninoff."

In the late 1950s, the group began exploring unusual rhythmic meters. By the end of the decade, the album "Time Out" had reached No. 2 on the pop music album charts, and a single off the album with "Take Five" on one side and "Blue Rondo a la Turk" on the other became the first jazz recording to sell more than a million copies.

Written by Desmond, "Take Five" became a universally recognized jazz classic despite the offbeat 5/4 meter.

The group's popularity began to climb in the mid-1950s when a series of live college recordings "Jazz Goes to College," "Jazz Goes to Junior College" and "Jazz Goes to Oberlin" was released. Brubeck appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1954, only the second such honor for a jazz artist. (Louis Armstrong was first.)

The New Yorker described the quartet as "the world's best-paid, most widely traveled, most highly publicized, and most popular small group now playing improvised syncopated music."

But Brubeck's fascination with groundbreaking elements not generally included in the jazz styles of the '50s also made his music a target of widespread disparagement from jazz critics, who often referred to a "heavy-handed, bombastic approach" to piano improvising. The words directly contradicted another critical view, which identified the music of Brubeck and Desmond as another example of the "effete, laid-back, West Coast cool jazz" style."

Most of the criticism failed to recognize the complex range of elements from stride piano to a Bach canon that could course through a single piece. Brubeck often cited the positive response his music received from legendary jazz figures including Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and Charles Mingus, among others.

David Warren Brubeck was born Dec. 6, 1920, in Concord, northeast of Oakland. His father, Howard "Pete" Brubeck, was a cattle rancher, his mother, Elizabeth Ivey Brubeck, a pianist and music teacher. When he was 11, the family moved to a 45,000-acre ranch near Ione, in the Sierra foothills.

His older brothers Howard and Henry became classical musicians, but Dave preferred ranching and improvising pop songs on the piano. As a teenager, he played at dances on weekends.

Brubeck started out studying veterinary medicine at what is now the University of the Pacific in Stockton but switched to music at the suggestion of his science advisor. He managed to earn a bachelor's degree without learning to properly read music.

He was drafted into the Army after graduation in 1942, marrying his college sweetheart, Iola Marie Whitlock, just before he was sent to France in 1944.

His wife, who frequently wrote lyrics for his projects, survives him along with his daughter Catherine, his sons Darius, Chris, Dan and Matthew, 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Another son, Michael, died several years ago.

Discharged from the military in 1946, Brubeck went to Mills College in Oakland, studying with French composer Darius Milhaud and forming the Brubeck Octet, a musically adventurous group with an imaginative and avant-garde repertoire. Brubeck's trio, which he led from 1949 to 1951, provided a different, more intimate forum for his far-reaching ideas. The group, which included bassist Ron Crotty and drummer/vibist Cal Tjader, played standards and Brubeck's originals.

In 1951, Brubeck added Desmond to his trio. It was the beginning of a journey into national visibility that established Brubeck and Desmond as significant jazz figures. The quartet, which remained together until 1967 and was briefly reunited in 1976, a year before Desmond died, became the most important vehicle for Brubeck's playing and innovative musical ideas.

Brubeck's sometimes empathetic, sometimes confrontational musical partnership with Desmond was the driving force behind those ideas. Brubeck was the engine, his visceral chording providing lift-off power for Desmond's soaring melodic interpretations of Brubeck originals and tunes from the Great American Songbook.

The intimacy of their musical interaction took place as quasi-verbal subtexts within musical dialogues with the intellectually sardonic Desmond choosing a fragment of melody to identify the title of a popular song or a classical piece, and Brubeck countering it immediately with a continuation of the melody or a contrasting phrase, identifying the title of a different piece.

In a 1961 New Yorker profile, Robert Rice described a typical example that took place during a quartet performance of "Blue Rondo a la Turk" in which Desmond inserted a quote from "Try a Little Tenderness." "Desmond," wrote Rice, responded "with a loud burst from 'You're Driving Me Crazy! What Did I Do?' "

Despite their sometimes confrontational relationship, Desmond gave Brubeck full credit for coming up with "Take Five."

"At that point, we had three or four albums a year to get done," he told CBC Radio in 1976. "And [Dave] said, 'Why don't we do ... all different time signatures? ... We got 2/4, 3/4 or 4/4, 5/4, 6/4, 7/4, 8/4, whatever. Why don't you take 5/4.' So I wrote 'Take Five.' At the time, I really thought it was kind of a throwaway. But it was Dave's idea, so give him ultimate credit."

In 1967, Brubeck disbanded the quartet to concentrate on composition, primarily sacred works and classical pieces, usually with jazz references. But he was soon pairing frequently with baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan as the "The Dave Brubeck Trio with Gerry Mulligan."

After Desmond's death, Brubeck continued to maintain the quartet format with other players, including clarinetist Bill Smith and saxophonist Bobby Militello. Among the many ensembles he led was Two Generations of Brubeck, which included his musician sons Dan, Darius and Chris.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet appeared and recorded with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in 1959, entertained world leaders at the 1988 Gorbachev-Reagan summit in Moscow, and frequently performed at the White House. Brubeck's 80th birthday was celebrated in 2000, featuring four of his sons as soloists in an all-Brubeck program with the London Symphony Orchestra.

His large-scale works included a jazz musical, "The Real Ambassadors," recorded in 1961 with Louis Armstrong and Carmen McRae; a jazz opera, "Cannery Row"; ballets; an oratorio; cantatas; and a Mass.

Some of the disparagement of his music suggested that racial favoritism was a factor in Brubeck's successes, even though Brubeck was from the beginning a highly visible civil rights activist. One time he refused to appear with the quartet on the "Bell Telephone Hour" television show after he was asked to replace Wright, an African American, with a white bassist.

Among his many awards, Brubeck was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame, declared a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts and awarded the National Medal of the Arts. In 2009, he received a lifetime achievement award as part of the Kennedy Center Honors.

Despite Brubeck's continued popularity, creative versatility and enormous commercial draw, it took many jazz critics decades to reconsider their early responses to his music.

In his 1995 book, "Cats of Any Color," former Down Beat editor Gene Lees wrote, "The public was right; the critics were wrong."

Times staff writers Elaine Woo and Rebecca Trounson contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012, Los Angeles Times

Dave Brubeck Obit

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Who knew he was a rancher's kid? And his two siblings became classical
musicians? And credit his science advisor for turning him away from becoming
a veterinarian! What I don't get is how you get a four year degree and
aren't able to read music. It didn't seem to hinder him but I wonder at
the accuracy of that statement.
John M

Dec 6, 2012 - 11:04pm PT

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 9, 2012 - 02:33am PT

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Dec 9, 2012 - 05:49am PT
lucky bastard,

we still have to go thru death,


Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Dec 9, 2012 - 12:04pm PT
keeping like things together, more Brubeck here

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 8, 2015 - 07:26am PT
Bump for a remembrance of Dave.

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Dec 8, 2015 - 08:05am PT
It's worth it just to watch the Pakistani group on page one again.

Thanks Dave!!

Trad climber
Northern California
Dec 8, 2015 - 09:26am PT
The album Time Out, with it's Picasso-like cover, was my first introduction to jazz. Take Five, one of the only musical memories I shared with my father. Thanks, Dave, for an amazing musical life.
patrick compton

Trad climber
Dec 8, 2015 - 09:31am PT

A long way from where I started
Dec 8, 2015 - 09:35am PT
Those of you who are familiar with Brubeck through his quartet recordings (like Take Five, Blue Rondo, etc) might want to go online and get a copy of a 2-CD release called "Music of America: Inventing Jazz - Dave Brubeck"

I think it's part of a series, although I'm not familiar with what other artists might be featured on other issues.

It is currently available used on amazon for as little as $3.99, and well worth it for a look at what a gifted and productive musician he was.

Music of America: Inventing Jazz - Dave Brubeck
Music of America: Inventing Jazz - Dave Brubeck
Credit: Ghost

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Dec 8, 2015 - 09:42am PT
Thanks Ghost!! My son needs one of those for Christmas!!

Sorry to hear that you got the big "A" disease. And sorry I didn't get back to you sooner.....

spud state
Dec 8, 2015 - 09:45am PT
SC seagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, Moab, A sailboat, or some time zone
Dec 8, 2015 - 09:53am PT
Very sad. A lot of his music was produced by Concord Music Group which was the company started by Ferretlegger's Dad (Carl Jefferson).
I loved his music.


Trad climber
new york
Dec 8, 2015 - 11:11am PT
Man RIP to the king of 5/4 timing - was lucky to see him play, about a decade ago, and it looked like the hardest thing he did all night was get up from his piano, shuffle to the mic, and say a warm thank you to the crowd. A genuine performer and great musician (even if his sax man was the one who wrote Take Five...)
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