Dave Brubeck, Longtime Ambassador of Jazz, Dies at 91

Dave Brubeck, a pianist who had unusual commercial success for a jazz artist, and represented jazz throughout the world on U.S. State Department sponsored tours, died Dec. 5 in Norwalk, Conn. His death came one day before his 92nd birthday. Mr. Brubeck was on his way to a regular medical checkup when his heart gave out. In a seven-decade career, Mr. Brubeck wrote literally hundreds of tunes. The Dave Brubeck Quartet, featuring alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, was one of the most popular jazz groups ever, as evidenced by the wildly successful recording, “Take Five,” recorded in 1959. He remained an active performer into old age. In December 2010, when Mr. Brubeck turned 90, his quartet won DownBeat magazine’s reader’s poll as the best group in jazz — 57 years after he first won the poll.

(photo: Paul Mello/AP)

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