Sound Check

Dave Brubeck: Things you should know about the iconic jazz musician

Jazz composer and pianist Dave Brubeck attends An Evening of Performance and Conversation at the Apple Store Soho …

Just one day before what would have been his 92nd birthday on Dec. 6, California-born jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck died of heart failure as he was making his way to a cardiology appointment.

In honour of this legendary musician, who has been said to have been "enormously influential in the 1950s and 1960s, creating challenging music with unusual time signatures and adventurous sounds," here are seven things you should know about Brubeck and his career in music.

See more: Dave Brubeck dies at 91

1. He stood up for what he believed in.
In the 1950s, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, which featured famed alto saxophone player Paul Desmond, began performing for student associations at universities. However, the SF Gate reports that in the summer of 1958, he fought against racism by standing up to officials who wouldn't let him perform with a "mixed group" at a college in Georgia.

Brubeck lost $40,000 that summer after 23 out of 25 universities canceled his concerts because he stood by his band members.

2. When asked by Vanity Fair what person or thing he would like to come back as after death, the musician responded, "A piano."

3. He has a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
"Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement award recipient David Brubeck was an iconic jazz and classical pianist," Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow said. "His recordings have received both commercial and critical success, and will be remembered and celebrated for generations to come. We have lost a great legend in our community, and our thoughts and condolences go to his family, friends and all those he inspired."

4.  One of his most notable tunes is called "Take Five."
In 1961, "Take Five," recognized for its 5/4 time signature, went to No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated at the Grammy Awards for Record of the Year.

5. His motto is "Hang in and hang on."

6. His album "Time Out," a record that featured songs in different time signatures and was the first jazz LP to become a million-seller, rose to No.2 on the Billboard 200 album chart in 1959.
CBC television host George Stroumboulopoulos pointed out, "Not too many instrumental jazz albums are doing that these days."

7. He was friends with Hugh Hefner.
In a tweet on Dec. 5, Hefner wrote, "I'm saddened by the news of the death of jazz giant Dave Brubeck. He was a friend who appeared in the first Playboy Jazz Festival in 1959."

R.I.P. Mr. Brubeck.

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Jazz great Dave Brubeck diesDave Brubeck, the jazz pianist and composer who defied conventions and influenced countless musicians, has died just one day shy of his 92nd birthday. Eli Glasner reports.

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