Brubeck was born in California in 1920. His father was a cattle rancher, and his mother was a piano teacher. He wanted to go into the cattle business like his father, but instead began playing piano at age 4; by his teens, Brubeck was playing in dance bands. Working his way through college as a jazz pianist, he changed his major from veterinary medicine to music.
From 1942-46, Brubeck served in the Army. After World War II, he returned to California and studied with French composer Darius Milhaud, later putting together an octet with some of his fellow classmates, including Cal Tjader and Paul Desmond. He formed an award-winning trio with Tjader and Ron Crotty in 1949, but in 1951, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, with Paul Desmond on alto sax, set the jazz world on its heels. The band took its unique sound to college campuses, jazz clubs, and on tours with artists like Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Stan Getz. It won
| DAVE BRUBECK |
Tuesday, April 1
715 Stadium Drive
In the '50s and '60s, Brubeck and his fellow musicians were helping to change the sound of jazz. Together with Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker, a West Coast "Cool Jazz" movement was spurred. The classic Dave Brubeck Quartet of the late '50s included Brubeck and Desmond, along with bassist Eugene Wright and drummer Joe Morello. The album they released in 1959, Time Out, was an overwhelming success - the first jazz record to sell a million copies. It contained the hits "Take Five" in 5/4 time, and "Blue Rondo à la Turk," Brubeck's take on Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca," in 9/8 time. The Dave Brubeck Quartet could not have been a hotter property. They recorded another album with unusual time signatures called Time Further Out, touring extensively in the U.S. Europe and Asia, before disbanding in 1967.
Brubeck has expanded his musical horizons in the past 30 years, writing two ballets, a musical, several symphonic pieces, classical compositions, and a mass. He has been the recipient of countless awards, including induction into the Downbeat Hall of Fame, BMI Jazz Pioneer Award, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, National Medal of the Arts, six honorary degrees, and the Jazz Master's Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has also received many awards for his continuing interest in education and his work at the Brubeck Institute.
The legendary Brubeck will appear in concert at the Laurie Auditorium on Tuesday, April 1. Proceeds from the concert will benefit Trinity University's KRTU 91.7. •