by David Mendez
Dave Brubeck, the legendary jazz pianist and composer most famous for "Take Five,"
his an experiment in using unusual time signatures in jazz combos written by saxophonist Paul Desmond, has died at the age of 91.
From the Chicago Tribune:
Brubeck was one day short of his 92nd birthday. He died of heart failure, en route to "a regular treatment with his cardiologist,” said Gloyd.
Throughout his career, Brubeck defied conventions long imposed on jazz musicians. The tricky meters he played in “Take Five” and other works transcended standard conceptions of swing rhythm.
The extended choral/symphonic works he penned and performed around the world took him well outside the accepted boundaries of jazz. And the concerts he brought to colleges across the country in the 1950s shattered the then-long-held notion that jazz had no place in academia.
"For as long as I’ve been playing jazz, people have been trying to pigeonhole me,” he once told the Tribune.
"Frankly, labels bore me."
Brubeck was notable, in this writer's opinion, for his willingness to challenge what was considered typical for the day, from his aforementioned forays into meters that were rarely, if ever, used by his jazz contemporaries to his humanist beliefs, pushing for greater social integration during a difficult period in our nation's history.
While he will be missed, his tremendous body of work ensures he won't soon be forgotten.