Date of Obituary
2012 December 7
Jazz musician Dave Brubeck always remembered his roots
Northern California lost its greatest jazz ambassador Wednesday with the passing of Dave Brubeck.
Born in Concord and raised near Ione, Brubeck was the foremost practitioner of a new kind of jazz known as “West Coast Cool.” Along with other musicians including Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker and Cal Tjader, he helped transform San Francisco and Oakland into a go-to jazz hub that rivaled New York. He soon became one of the most recognized jazz musicians in the world.
In 1954, Brubeck was featured on the cover of Time magazine, becoming only the second jazz artist to be so honored, after Louis Armstrong. In 1959, he released his breakout song, “Take Five,” which used an unusual 5/4 meter and ended up becoming the first jazz single to sell more than a million copies.
Despite his international fame, Brubeck never forgot his roots in Northern California. Twelve years ago, he and his wife, Iola, founded the Brubeck Institute at University of the Pacific in Stockton, which both attended. Over years, they expanded it beyond just a special archive to a program that funded concerts and provided fellowships for jazz students.
Brubeck, who would have turned 92 Thursday, was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2008, part of a litany of honors that included a National Medal of Arts in 2004.
Along with a family of talented musicians, Brubeck leaves behind a legacy of musical risk-taking that will inspire artists for generations.
As he once said, “There’s a way of playing safe, there’s a way of using tricks and there’s the way I like to play.” That style, he said, means “you’re going to take a chance on making mistakes in order to create something you haven’t created before.”
The Modesto Bee
BIRTH: 6 Dec 1920 - Concord, Contra Costa, California, USA
DEATH: 5 Dec 2012 - Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut
BURIAL: Umpawaug Cemetery, Redding, Fairfield, Connecticut, USA