Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck dead at 91

Jazz musician Dave Brubeck plays piano during the California Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony reception in Sacramento, California in 2008.

Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, whose choice of novel rhythms, classical structures and brilliant sidemen made him a towering figure in modern jazz, has died at the age of 91, his longtime manager and producer Russell Gloyd said on Wednesday.

Brubeck died of heart failure on his way to a regular medical exam at Norwalk Hospital, in Norwalk, Conn., said Gloyd.

His Dave Brubeck Quartet put out one of the biggest selling jazz songs of all time: “Take Five,” composed by alto saxophonist Paul Desmond. Like many of the group’s works, it had an unusual beat — 5/4 time as opposed to the usual 4/4.

“We play it differently every time we play it,” Brubeck told The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2005. “So I never get tired of playing it. That’s the beauty of jazz.”

“Take Five” was the first million-selling jazz single.

Brubeck injected classical counterpoint, atonal harmonies and modern dissonance into his music, hinting at composers such as Debussy, Bartok, Stravinsky and Bach.


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