Home Arts & Culture Dave Brubeck dies in Connecticut aged 91

Dave Brubeck dies in Connecticut aged 91


Jazz legend and composer Dave Brubeck has died in Connecticut hospital, aged 91.

The musician, whose recordings included Take Five and Blue Rondo a la Turk, was once designated a “living legend” by the US Library of Congress.

Dave Brubeck died on Wednesday morning in hospital in Connecticut, his manager Russell Gloyd told the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

The musician, who played with the likes of Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald would have turned 92 on Thursday.

He enjoyed phenomenal success with The Dave Brubeck Quartet in the 1950s and ’60s, selling millions of albums.

Their 1959 album, Time Out, was significant for its use of uncommon, complex time signatures – influenced by the pianist’s classical training.

Jazz legend and composer Dave Brubeck has died in Connecticut hospital aged 91 348x350 photo

Jazz legend and composer Dave Brubeck has died in Connecticut hospital, aged 91

The record spawned Take Five, the biggest-selling jazz single of all time – and used as the theme tune to several TV programmes throughout the years, including Channel 4’s Secret Life of Machines, and NBC’s Today programme.

It was, however, the one track on the album not written by Dave Brubeck himself, having been composed by his long-time saxophonist Paul Desmond.

The song was a staple of the band’s live set for the rest of their careers, with each musician leaving the stage one at a time after their respective solos, until only drummer Joe Morello was left.

Although Dave Brubeck disbanded the quartet in 1967 to enable him to concentrate on composing, they reconvened regularly until Paul Desmond’s death in 1977.

The musician had several other touring bands over the years, and three of his sons would regularly join him in concert in the 1970s.

Born in California, Dave Brubeck once planned to be a vet, but his mother played the piano, and gave him an interest in music.

He once joked that he suspected he’d been introduced to the instrument while still in the womb.

The future cover star of Time Magazine had a formal music education, and it was his teacher, the French composer, Darius Milhaud, who encouraged him to turn to jazz.


Dave Brubeck went on to compose some 250 jazz pieces and songs. He also wrote music for ballet (Points of Jazz), orchestral works (Elementals), oratorios (The Light in the Wilderness) and other sacred music.

Dave Brubeck is survived by his wife, Iola; four sons and a daughter; as well as grandsons and a great granddaughter.