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Jazz Great Dave Brubeck Dead: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know

Jazz great Dave Brubeck, the musical legend whose quartet performed the iconic “Take 5,” has died at age 91 in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Here’s what you should know:

1. He Died One Day Shy of His 92nd Birthday
dave brubeck dead dies
Brubeck died of heart failure while on the way to see a cardiologist appointment.

2. He Was a World Famous Jazz Pioneer

Brubeck smashed conventional thinking about swing rhythm by experimenting with unorthodox meters. His quartet’s “Take 5″ is in 5/4 time and “Blue Rondo a la Turk” is in 9/8 time. He made jazz cool again, becoming one of the most popular musicians of the 1050s and ’60s — a household name who drew a new generation to the genre.

3. He Took a Stand Against Racism

Brubeck’s bassist Eugene Wright, aka “The Senator.”


Brubeck referred to jazz “freedom music.” In the 1950s and ’60s he turned down many lucrative concert dates in America and abroad at venues that wouldn’t accept his quartet’s black base player, Eugene Wright.

4. He Had the First Jazz Album to Sell 1 Million
dave brubeck dead dies
Brubeck’s 1959 Album “Time Out” was the first jazz LP to sell 1 million. His quartet’s recording of “Take 5″ sold more than 1 million singles.

5. He Made the Cover of Time Magazine
dave brubeck dead rip dies
On Nov. 8, 1954, Brubeck became the first modern jazz musician to grace the cover of Time magazine. Louis Armstrong (1949) was the only previous jazz musician to achieve that honor. Only five jazz musicians have ever made the cover. The other three are Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Winton Marsalis.

6. He Won a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1997
He also received the Kennedy Center Honor.

7. He Wrote Music for a ‘Peanuts’ Special


In the late ’80s Brubeck composed music for the TV special “This is America, Charlie Brown.” The piece is called “Quiet as the Moon.”

8. He Wrote More than Jazz
Brubeck also composed two ballets, a musical, an oratorio, four cantatas and a mass. He brought his diverse influences to his jazz music.

9. He Inspired the Beatles

The Beatles song “All My Loving” was inspired by Brubeck’s “Kathy’s Waltz,” off the “Time Out” album.

10. He Had Many Musical Children

chris brubeck dave brubeck darius brubeck

From left, Chris Brubeck, Dave Brubeck and Darius Brubeck.


Four of Brubeck’s six children are professional musicians. The most notable is Darius, named after Brubeck’s mentor Darius Milhaud.

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