Today, December 06 is one of our favorite Jazz musicians birthday. Although he has passed, his influence in the jazz genre lives on.
Dave Brubeck was a jazz pianist and composer. He was born on December 6, 1920 and died on December 5th, 2012. He was one of the first jazz musicians to be played on pop radio stations and also the first to bring jazz to television, with his program “Jazz Casual.” He was best known for his album “Time Out,” which has been covered by many other artists. “Time Out” was the first million-selling, non-compilation jazz album.
Brubeck stood out as a musician by playing the piano with his right hand and using four beats to each measure instead of two like most other pianists at that time. With this unique way of playing, he has influenced many musicians since he began playing jazz.
In a November, 2008 interview with the Seattle Times , Brubeck revealed his thoughts on his music. He said “I just want to have fun, that’s all. There are so many great musicians playing now that I’m thrilled to see what kind of music they come up with.” In another interview, he stated “It’s not that I’m trying to play better than anybody else. I just want to be part of the flow of life.”
Brubeck was born in Concord, California and he died on December 5th, 2012 in Norwalk, Connecticut of heart failure. He is survived by his wife Iola, sons Darius (Chris) and Matthew (Michael), and daughter Catherine.
Today we take a look back at Brubeck’s career with some of our favorite songs.
Dave Brubeck Take 5
No list of Dave Brubeck songs would be complete without “Take 5” His first hit from the classic Time Out album, it is a great example of Brubeck would use unorthodox time signatures for his songs. NPR has a great write up with everything you could wish to know about this classic song.
I’m in a Dancing Mood
One of my personal favorites is “I’m in a Dancing Mood”. The video below is a great live performance from the Ed Sullivan show and was recorded on October 16, 1960.
Tonight from West Side Story
A lot of times I forget how good the 1986 compilation album Music from West Side Story by Dave Brubeck is until I go back and revisit it. Just an amazing album. Below is a video of the track “Tonight” from the album.
It’s a Raggy Waltz
One of my favorites from the Time Further Out album by Dave Brubeck. This is a very clever jazz waltz in 3/4 time with lots of great chord changes.
From the 1955 album Jazz: Red Hot and Cool. The Duke is another great number from Brubeck.
Happy birthday, Dave Brubeck! You will be missed, but your music will continue to live on. Thanks for the influence.