The great jazz pianist Dave Brubeck died earlier today of heart failure in Norwalk, Connecticut. He would’ve been 92 tomorrow.
Brubeck grew up on a cattle ranch in California, and he studied zoology in college before switching over to music. While serving in Patton’s Third Army during World War II, he formed one of the Army’s first racially integrated bands. During the war, he also studied experimental music under Arnold Schoenberg. And when Brubeck rose to fame with his Dave Brubeck Quartet in the ’50s, he applied new tonalities and unconventional time signatures to his music, while still keeping it breezy and accessible. He sold millions and ended up on the cover of Time magazine, and he did it without losing the exploratory side of his music.
Watch the Dave Brubeck Quartet playing “Take Five” below.