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Dave Brubeck: A Legend in Life, and After

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Dave Brubeck performs
Dave Brubeck performs


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.


Comments (5)

  1. The loss of a column of jazz and of an inspiration to all of those who love good music. Godspeed, Dave Brubeck.

  2. Drea Mr Dave Brubeck. Thanks for your music,

  3. Dave Brubeck is a jazz monster. I love his music. “Summer Song”
    is my favourite.

  4. We will miss you and the gift of music you gave to us all. RIP

  5. i took a history of jazz class as a freshman in my first semester. There was a large library of music, and we listened to plenty of it.
    But, when we arrived at Dave Brubeck, we listened to Blue Rondo a la Turk and Take Five.
    I fell in love with Brubeck’s artistry and music.
    And, I fell in love with jazz.
    I was privileged enough to get to see Mr. Brubeck perform twice.
    Thank you Mr. Brubeck for adding to and enriching my life.

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