Dave Brubeck, one of jazz's longest-lasting legends, has died.
Best known for the playful 1959 hit "Take Five," which transformed the unfamiliar 5/4 time signature into a loping romp, the jazz pianist succumbed to congestive heart failure in Wilton, Conn., on Wednesday. The 91-year-old Brubeck had been on his way to an appointment with his cardiologist.
During his heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, Brubeck led a quartet with alto saxophonist Paul Desmond (who penned "Take Five") and championed a heady, classically influenced take on jazz on albums such as Jazz Impressions of the U.S.A., Time Out and Music From West Side Story. After disbanding the group in 1967, Brubeck spent his time composing longer pieces and touring, often with his four sons, who all became musicians.
Throughout his 60-year career, Brubeck achieved many milestones, including the recording first million-selling single for "Take Five," becoming the first jazz musician on the cover of Time and receiving a host of awards such as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award, the Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy, Kennedy Center Honors, honorary doctorates and more.
As well, the bandleader was a proponent of racial equality, rejecting tours of South Africa, employing a racially mixed group and writing a jazz musical with his wife that dealt with racial issues, The Real Ambassadors.
Brubeck, who would have turned 92 in one day, is survived by his wife Iola and three of their four children and many grandchildren.