Pianist Dave Brubeck, one of America’s all-time greats in the field of jazz — and a seminal force in making jazz popular in the U.S. and throughout the world — died today, just shy of his 92nd birthday.
The Librarian of Congress bestowed the Library’s “Living Legend” award on Brubeck in 2003, and it was our pleasure here at the Library to have Dave Brubeck on our stage in the Coolidge Auditorium both that year — he performed with the Dave Brubeck Quartet and the Brubeck Institute Sextet — and on April 10, 2008, where he was interviewed on the Coolidge stage by the journalist Hedrick Smith.
That evening, billed as as “The Dave Brubeck Quartet 1958 State Department Tour: The Music & The Memories,” featured a performance by the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet performing the works on the DBQ album, “Jazz Impressions of Eurasia.”
Dave Brubeck was interviewed in April 2008 for this webcast by the Library’s jazz specialist, Larry Appelbaum. Brubeck was known for his his million-selling recording “Time Out” and his use of different time signatures, as well as his songs “In Your Own Sweet Way,” “The Duke” and “Summer Song,” which are considered jazz classics, Appelbaum said.
“During the Cold War, he took jazz out to the world under the auspices of the State Department,” Appelbaum said. “He was one of the people who not only took American music abroad – he helped expose a lot of people to U.S. values through the music – but he also absorbed a lot of music he heard in Turkey, Eurasia and other places,” which became a part of Brubeck’s work.