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Dave Brubeck

TAKE FIVE: The Incomparable Cool of Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck’s art is the kind that can reach and uplift any and all of us. He believed that music should and does transcend boundaries and categories, and his art certainly does. In subtle ways it is part of a force that uplifts our whole human culture via universality.
- Terence Smith

Dave Brubeck (December 6, 1920 – December 5, 2012), continues to be one of the most celebrated and popular musicians in the worlds of jazz and classical music. With a career spanning over six decades, his experiments in odd time signatures, improvised counterpoint, polyrhythm and polytonality remain hallmarks of musical innovation.  

Brubeck wrote a number of jazz standards, including "In Your Own Sweet Way" and "The Duke." His style ranged from refined to bombastic, reflecting his mother's attempts at classical training and his improvisational skills.

His long-time musical partner, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, wrote the saxophone melody for the Dave Brubeck Quartet's best remembered piece, "Take Five," which is in 5/4 time and has endured as a jazz classic on one of the top-selling jazz albums, 'Time Out.'

The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s recordings and concert appearances on college campuses in the ‘50s and early ‘60s introduced jazz to thousands of young people. The quartet’s audiences were not limited to students, however.  The group played in jazz clubs in every major city and toured in package shows with such artists as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzerald, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz.  The Dave Brubeck Quartet repeatedly won top honors in trade magazines and critic’s and reader’s polls.  In 1954, Brubeck was featured on the cover of Time, the second jazz musician to be so honored (the first being Louis Armstrong on February 21, 1949). 

Designated a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, he was also a respected composer of orchestral and sacred music, and wrote soundtracks for television such as 'Mr. Broadway' and the animated miniseries, 'This Is America, Charlie Brown.'

Perhaps the most honored jazz artist of his generation, Brubeck received awards from two sitting United States Presidents -- Bill Clinton presented him with the National Medal of the Arts in 1994, and Barack Obama presented him with the Kennedy Center Honors in 2009. 

He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a lifetime achievement Grammy from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Smithsonian Medal, and honorary degrees from universities in five different countries, among many other awards for his life in music.

When he died of heart failure late in 2012, just one day before his 92nd birthday, Brubeck's life and his work were celebrated around the world. The New York Times noted that he had continued to play well into his old age. Music journalist Ivan Hewett wrote, "This quiet man of jazz was truly a marvel." And even the self-proclaimed 'Dean of American Rock Critics,' Robert Christgau, humbly dubbed Brubeck a "jazz hero of the rock and roll generation."

About Our Collection:

JG Autographs Inc. is proud to offer a great selection of original vinyl albums, compact discs and photography (various poses and sizes) signed by the legendary 'king of cool jazz' himself.

Titles on LP include: "The Dave "The Dave Brubeck Quartet Plays Music from 'West Side Story' and... ," "The New Brubeck Quartet Live At Montreux" (1978), "Truth is Fallen" (1972), "Time Further Out," "The Riddle" (1960), "Brubeck Plays Brubeck" (1956), "Angel Eyes" (1965), "Jazz Goes to College" (1954), "Gone with the Wind" (1959), "All The Things We Are" (1974), "Dave Brubeck at Storyville" (1954) and many more classic albums and compilations. 

Titles on CD include: "Private Brubeck Remembers" (2004), "Stardust" (1951), "Jazz: Red Hot and Cool" (1955), "Jazz at the College of the Pacific Vol. 2" (1953), "Time Out" (1959), "Concord On a Summer Night" (1982), "Young Lions and Old Tigers" (1995) and "Dave Brubeck Octet" (1950). 

Also available are two original, vintage photographs by celebrated Harlem Renaissance photographer Carl Van Vechten. These prints are alternative takes from the 1954 shoot that produced the iconic cover photograph used on Brubeck's "Eight Classic Albums" collectable box set on the Real Gone Jazz imprint.

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