Jazz musician Dave Brubeck, perhaps best known for his hit “Take Five”, died on Wednesday morning at the age of 91, the Associated Press reports. Brubeck passed away from heart failure, just days before what would have been his 92nd birthday. He leaves behind his wife Lola Brubeck and their children. (He had one daughter and five sons.)
The Grammy-nominated pianist had an illustrious career that spanned decades. He formed The Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1951, which released five top ten albums, including the classic 1959 album done in 5/4 time, Time Out. The record featured the hit “Blue Rondo a la Turk” and was the first jazz LP to sell a million copies.
Among his many accolades, Brubeck (who, before becoming a legendary musician, served under General George S. Patton in Europe) received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy in 1996 and in 2009 he was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.
Brubeck’s influence was not only felt in the jazz world. Brubeck, who appeared in Ken Burns’ Jazz miniseries, also wrote music for ballets, operas, and the late 80s television special This is America, Charlie Brown. He once performed for a dinner held by Ronald Reagan in 1988 in Moscow, which was attended by Mikhail Gorbachev. Brubeck said of the experience, “I can’t understand Russian, but I can understand body language.”
In a statement to Grammy.com regarding Brubeck (who they call “one of the most significant acts of the West Coast jazz movement”) Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow said, “David Brubeck was an iconic jazz and classical pianist. 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.”
[Photo credit: WENN.com]