Jazz legend Dave Brubeck passed away today of heart failure one day shy of his 92nd birthday.
Brubeck is best known for the landmark 1959 album Time Out which showcased his experimentation with time signatures. Time Out features songs like “Blue Rondo a la Turk”, “Three to Get Ready” and, most famously of all, the Paul Desmond penned “Take Five”.
In June 2010, I had the good fortune of seeing Brubeck in concert with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall. By this point, Brubeck’s health had become frail and he had to be assisted to the piano. But once he started playing his timeless music, the years just fell away.
UPDATE: In a 2005 interview with the AP, Brubeck likened jazz to democracy:
Jazz is about freedom within discipline. Usually a dictatorship like in Russia and Germany will prevent jazz from being played because it just seemed to represent freedom, democracy and the United States.
Many people don’t understand how disciplined you have to be to play jazz….And that is really the idea of democracy – freedom within the Constitution or discipline. You don’t just get out there and do anything you want.
Words of wisdom. Now it is up to us to ensure this wisdom doesn’t die with Dave Brubeck.