Dave Brubeck, 1920-2012


Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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27 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    R.I.P., Dave.Report

  2. Avatar David Ryan says:

    Take 5 is the sound track to the life of a man who has both competence and purpose, knows this about himself, and let’s it show just enough that others admire him, but not so much that he arouses envy.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      I’m not really into jazz, but even I love the sheer awesomeness of Take 5.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      but not so much that he arouses envy.

      this is a lovely; but if you’ve ever watched someone learning to master their horn work for a tone like Brubeck’s . . . they’re filled with envy.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    I just heard about this. Major bummer. I was literally just thinking about him yesterday because for some reason the holidays always remind me of Brubeck.

    Glad you didn’t fish around and play a different track. As one of our local radio personalities once said, ‘Take Five’ is probably the coolest song ever written. The time signature was revolutionary at the time. The whole album is great but man I could listen to this all day.

    I had a chance to see him in concert a couple of years ago and missed it. I’ll regret that one forever.Report

  4. Avatar zic says:


    Saw him play in the late 70’s.

    My sweetie’s still shredding his licks.Report

  5. We’re introducing the Critter to jazz. (The interest was sparked by a lovely book given by a thoughtful friend.) It’s lunchtime here, and we’re listening to this song right now.

    RIP, Dave. I love your music, and I’m hoping my kids will, too.Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      We’re introducing the Critter to jazz.

      I don’t recommend this technique.Report

    • Avatar Scott Fields says:

      We found this a fun introduction for our critters.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:


      My two-fold goal for my daughter was this: Teach her to love books and to love music. Thankfully I succeeded on both fronts, though I am sad to say that jazz was the one genre that never took. We used to have ‘quiet time’ where I would put on jazz and we would do some kind of creative project together. Usually Play-Doh or coloring or Legos. My hope is that a love for jazz is burned into her subconcious only to be activated at some later date.

      Good luck my friend.Report

      • Avatar Maribou says:

        My parents stopped listening to jazz (or any music) when my younger siblings came along, for various reasons. Many years later, I found that the albums they listened to then still felt like “home” more than any other music, even though I had been too young to consciously remember them. So I wouldn’t be surprised if she picks up those same songs later on. Quite possibly with a, “DAD!!! You will not BELIEVE THIS AMAZING SONG I JUST FOUND!!!!”Report

      • He already loves Ella Fitzgerald, and was annoyed when I played the above song instead of the Charlie Parker he requested by nameReport

  6. Avatar NewDealer says:


    I am more of a Blue Rondo a La Turk guy.Report

    • Avatar Plinko says:

      Same here, but Take 5 is what introduced me to Brubeck in the first place. Without that first, I’m not sure I would grown to love Blue Rondo a La Turk as much as I do.Report

  7. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Kathy’s Waltz will always have a special place in my heart. Largely because one of my favorite people is named Kathy.Report

  8. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    This is the first I’ve heard of his passing. For me, Dave Brubeck epitomised California when I first heard him.

    So many fond memories of Dave Brubeck. He was the reflection of the city lights in the puddles and the falling rain of a hundred late nights, the whisper of glory in the ugliness of a hundred cities, the way a woman walks in a good dress, the sound of her shoes on the sidewalk. Brubeck’s piano style affected my own. How shamelessly I aped him! A thousand pianists in a thousand piano bars ape him, too, and none of us will ever be his equal. With Dave Brubeck’s passing, a true original has left the world.

    Brubeck and Paul Desmond: Stardust, alternate take.Report

  9. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    This is terrible, terrible news. I’m a huge fan; I have live recordings of his from just a few years ago, and even at his age he was still spot on.

    Very sad to hear this.Report

  10. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    I’ve loved Take Five for years. You Tube made it even better because the drum solo is even awesomer when you watch what he’s doing with his hands. It was only a year or two ago that I learned it’s a song with words, and not a jazz instrumental. (Much better as an instrumental, of course.)Report

  11. Avatar Maribou says:

    He was so much himself.Report

  12. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    With all due respect to Dave Brubeck, “Take Five” was written by Paul Desmond, the saxophonist.Report

  13. Avatar Shawn Gude says:

    RIP. Brubeck wasn’t my favorite jazz pianist (that would be Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver, Bill Evans, or Bud Powell), but he was a fantastic one nonetheless.Report

  14. Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

    I attended the University of the Pacific and knew a lot of music conservatory students. Brubeck came back to play a couple of times while I was there and visited with the music students in the process. The students who met him universally said that he was a great guy, genuinely interested in what they were doing and happy to talk shop with them.

    It’s sad to lose somebody like that.Report