Innovative Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck has died, one day shy of his 92nd birthday.
Though the melody of Take Five, arguably his most famous recording (featured above), is credited to his quartet’s saxophonist, Paul Desmond, it is Brubeck’s love of uncommon time signatures that lays the foundation for one of the most iconic musical works of the 20th Century.
But Brubeck wasn’t just a crusader for rhythm. During his service in World War II, Brubeck was spotted playing a Red Cross show and ordered to form a band. Brubeck chose a racially integrated lineup, a rarity for military acts. During the 1950s and ’60s, Brubeck is reported to have canceled appearances at venues that balked at the mixed racial makeup of his quartet.
Brubeck was also said to have been upset when he was featured on the cover of Time magazine in 1954 (only the second Jazz musician so honored), believing that the selection was influenced by race.
Though he disbanded the quartet in 1967, Brubeck continued to compose and perform into his 90s. He was the recipient of numerous accolades and awards, including a Kennedy Center honor and a Grammy for lifetime achievement.