Wednesday, December 5

Take Five

Jazz legend Dave Brubeck, designated a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, died today - one day before his 92nd birthday.

Dave Brubeck (Dec. 6, 1920 – Dec. 5, 2012) was an American jazz pianist. He wrote a number of jazz standards, including Take FiveIn Your Own Sweet Way, and The Duke.

In 1958 the Dave Brubeck Quartet made the first of many international tours. The U.S. State Department sponsored the Quartet’s performances in Poland, India, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq. Exposure to many different cultures was reflected in the group’s repertoire that sometimes incorporated exotic elements.  

The 1959 recording Time Out experimented in time signatures beyond the usual jazz 4/4. To everyone’s surprise Time Out became the first jazz album to sell over a million copies and Blue Rondo a la Turk and Take Five (now in the Grammy Hall of Fame) began to appear on jukeboxes throughout the world.

Brubeck experimented with time signatures throughout his career, recording Pick Up Sticks in 6/4, Unsquare Dance in 7/4, World's Fair in 13/4, and Blue Rondo à la Turk in 9/8. He was also a respected composer of orchestral and sacred music, and wrote soundtracks for television such as Mr. Broadway and the animated mini-series This Is America, Charlie Brown.

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