Legendary Jazz Musician Brubeck Dies at 91

Dave Brubeck played at the Tarrytown Music Hall a number of times.

Legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck has died at age 91, the Chicago Tribune reports

Brubeck, who lived in nearby Wilton, CT, was born on Dec. 6, 1920. A concert celebrating Brubeck's 92nd birthday .

Brubeck is known for penning a number of jazz standards, including "The Duke." His band, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, is best known for their song "Take Five."

According to the Tribune, Brubeck died of heart failure Wednesday morning at Norwalk Hospital on his way to a regular appointment with his cardiologist. 

Howard Reich, an arts critic for the Tribune, writes the following:

Throughout his career, Brubeck defied conventions long imposed on jazz musicians. The tricky meters he played in “Take Five” and other works transcended standard conceptions of swing rhythm. The extended choral/symphonic works he penned and performed around the world took him well outside the accepted boundaries of jazz. And the concerts he brought to colleges across the country in the 1950s shattered the then-long-held notion that jazz had no place in academia.

As a humanist, he was at the forefront of integration, playing black jazz clubs throughout the deep South in the ’50s, a point of pride for him.

"For as long as I’ve been playing jazz, people have been trying to pigeonhole me,” he once told the Tribune.

Brubeck played in Westchester a number of times at the Tarrytown Music Hall, including at his own 90th birthday celebration show in October, 2010. The show was originally cancelled due his health problems. Brubeck had fainted several times in his Connecticut home and his doctor was prohibiting him from doing any engagements.

However, soon after another call came: The show would go on at the end of that month. Not only that, but Brubeck would be rescheduling any shows he had missed in the meantime.

"Dave Brubeck is one of the world's most renowned jazz musicians, of course. Ninety years old and still touring," marveled Music Hall Executive Director, Björn Olsson at the time.

Today Olsson tweeted: "Dave Brubeck has left us, days before his 92nd birthday. We mourn his passing and celebrate an incredible career."

"You can tell he absolutely loves it, because he certainly does not have to do this at this age," Jazz Forum Arts' Executive Director Mark Morganelli said in 2010 of the performer's longevity. "The joke in jazz is when you say 'retire', retire to what? It's like a fine wine – better with age."


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