Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck, an innovative and influential jazz pianist over many years, has died at the age of 91. Based in California, he was a leader of so-called West Coast Jazz, bringing a spirit of experimentation to a part of the jazz world that had been resolutely mainstream.

Brubeck loved to experiment with unusual time signatures, a tendency that culminated in his masterpiece album, Time Out. The tune played above, Blue Rondo à la Turk, is predominantly in 9/8 time, with the beats broken mostly into a 2+2+2+3 pattern. But things aren’t quite so simple, as Wikipedia explains.

The best thing about Brubeck’s experimentations was that they never sounded formal; they were highly musical and fun to listen to, seemingly flowing without effort unless you tried to really focus on what was going on. He was a much-beloved figure in jazz, and will be sorely missed.

Update: An anecdote from Russ Gershon on Facebook:

I heard him tell a story of when he was on the cover of Time in the late 50s. He was at a hotel with Duke Ellington (they were playing in the same jazz festival, maybe Newport). When Brubeck learned about the coverage he immediately went to Duke’s room and apologized that it was him and not Duke who first earned Time’s cover.

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3 Responses to Dave Brubeck

  1. Gizelle Janine says:

    Oh well. So much for the discover layout. *starts laughing* This one is way more fun, anyway. How much can you really do with red and grey on a narrow page? 😀

  2. Platohagel says:

    Good to see you blogging again under this format.


  3. Tom S says:

    When I was in high school in the late 60’s my friends and I were fairly ordinary. But we were fascinated by Brubeck’s Time Out album. Take Five was our favorite cut. Looking back it seems a bit odd, since we were not into jazz at all. Speaks to Brubeck’s greatness I guess.