Dave Brubeck, the composer and pianist that exposed many decades of young people to jazz, died yesterday at the age of 91. He literally brought jazz to college by integrating classical European composition elements such as alternating time signatures and introspective chord progressions. Some people, including my favorite music professor Michael Budds, hinted that Brubeck couldn’t swing like other contemporary jazz innovators. I think he just swung more subtly. He had to, since the styles of music he integrated were viewed as diametrically opposed in nature. Along with other visionary composers such as Duke Ellington, Brubeck left more than the legacy of his songbooks and great recorded performances; he pushed the concept of jazz as art and intellectual stimulus into homes worldwide. Dave Brubeck (along with Paul Desmond, Joe Morello, and Eugene Wright) introduced me to jazz that’s not “old-timey” – not a caricature of another decade. His death will surely not stop future generations of young people from enjoying this great American art form. Rest in peace.
PS: This morning (Dec 10) Tom Hall aired his thoughts about Brubeck as well as a three year old interview between the two.