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Remembering Dave Brubeck on His Birthday

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Dave Brubeck is one of the most celebrated jazz musicians in the history of the genre. His style has been copied by many throughout his lifetime and continues to be celebrated today. He lived a full and memorable life, collaborating with some of the most prominent musicians in jazz- including Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Tony Bennett.

Dave Brubeck Early Life and Unusual Music Time Signatures

Dave Brubeck was born on December 6th, 1920 in California. He was a graduate of the College of the Pacific in Stockton, California. After serving in the military during World War II, he started his professional career as an accompanist for singers. He soon teamed up with alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, who would become his most famous collaborator. The Dave Brubeck Quartet was formed in 1951 and went on to record some of the most iconic jazz songs of all time.

Brubeck was known for his innovative style and for pushing boundaries in jazz music. He often played with unusual time signatures, like 5/4 and 9/8, which created a unique sound that was heavily influenced by classical music.

Dave Brubeck Time Out

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Dave Brubeck Time Out and hit song “Take 5”

Brubeck’s music was a blend of classical themes with swing rhythms that helped pave the way for modal jazz. One can hear echoes of Dave Brubeck’s work in pop culture as well – from “West Side Story” to “The Wheel on The School” from Maria von Trapp’s children’s book series about her family before they became famous singers. In fact, his music has been so influential that even jazz musicians who came years after him admit to be inspired by him.

Dave Brubeck’s classic “Take Five” from the ‘Time Out’ album was one of the first jazz songs ever recorded to feature a drum solo. The song became an international success after it was released in 1959, selling 4 million copies worldwide. You can read our full Dave Brubeck Time Out Album Review.

Dave Brubeck’s most famous song, “Take Five,” has been covered by many musicians. Miles Davis, after meeting Brubeck for the first time, is quoted as saying “I told Dave the only thing he knows how to play is ‘Take Five’ and that ain’t jazz. I told him if he wants to play jazz he better learn how to play some blues.”

John Coltrane also had a deep respect for Brubeck’s music. He said, “I don’t know anyone who is more honest than Dave Brubeck.” John Coltrane eventually collaborated with Dave on writing “Some Other Blues”.

Other notable tributes are from Tony Bennett, who has cited Brubeck as a favorite collaborator and recorded a live album with the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1963, and from Herbie Hancock, who sampled “Take Five” for his hit song “Watermelon Man”.

Conclusion

Dave Brubeck passed away in December, 2012. He was 91.

Dave Brubeck is one of the most celebrated jazz musicians in the history of the genre. His style has been copied by many throughout his lifetime and continues to be celebrated today, 50 years after he passed away. One can hear echoes of Dave Brubeck’s work in pop culture as well – from “West Side Story” to “The Wheel on The School” from Maria von Trapp’s children’s book series about her family before they became famous singers. In fact, his music has been so influential that even jazz musicians who came years after him admit to be inspired by him. Dave Brubeck was 91 when he died but still managed to carry out a career that lasted over 60 years with more than 30 albums.

Wondering what to check out next? Love jazz and holiday music, check out our review of the first holiday album from Norah Jones I Dream of Christmas.

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