Jazz legend Dave Brubeck died one day short of his 92nd birthday. Nobody could argue that ninety-something isn’t a decent age to see, especially when – by the time of Brubeck’s own passing – so many of his musical peers from the 50s and 60s (a fine era for jazz music) had long since left us, and at ages so much younger. Even Brubeck nearly didn’t make it: a near fatal swimming accident occurred in 1951, some years before he would record his best known material.
One of the finest pianists in jazz, possibly second only to Herbie Hancock, Brubeck’s most famous recording, 1959’s ‘Take Five’ (written by The Brubeck Quartet’s saxophonist Paul Desmond), remains one of the genre’s most instantly recognisable pieces, loved by many – and not just jazz aficionados. Beyond ‘Take Five’, his mammoth output, spanning six decades, yielding several dozen albums, included other great tunes, right up to his critically acclaimed swansong – 2001’s ‘The Crossing’. Right to the end, he could be heard always pushing his already distinctive style as he experimented with complex time signatures.
His music says more than a few paragraphs ever could. In tribute, here’s the complete Dave Brubeck Quartet performance from the BBC’s ‘Jazz 625’, recorded in 1964.