An American jazz icon passed away today at 91. Dave Brubeck, best known for his classic song Take Five, was one of the most brilliant pianists I ever saw at Toronto's annual jazz festival.
Brubeck died Wednesday morning at Norwalk Hospital, in Norwalk, Conn., said his longtime manager-producer-conductor Russell Gloyd. He died of heart failure, on the way to "a regular treatment with his cardiologist,” said Gloyd.
in 1954, Brubeck became only the second jazz musician ever featured on the cover of Time Magazine. The seminal album "Time Out," released by his quartet in 1959, was the first ever million-selling jazz LP, and remains among the best-selling jazz albums of all time. It opens with "Blue Rondo a la Turk" in 9/8 time — nine beats to the measure instead of the customary two, three or four beats, as this article explains.
Today, the jazz world lost a true master. Brubeck could tickle the ivories with ease, even at a septuagenarian age. When I saw him at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival three years ago, he left me in awe, as he effortlessly took us through a 15-minute version of Take Five, one of my most beloved jazz songs. He was smiling the whole time, loving every minute of his stage time.
Brubeck reinforced in me the notion that at any age, a musician can enjoy his work and still find ways to entertain audiences. Blessed with a gift, Brubeck didn't want to retire or spend his latter years raking in the royalties. He still wanted to inspire jazz lovers; and he showed many of us how true genius doesn't wane with age.
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