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Jazz composer, pianist Dave Brubeck dies at 91

  • FILE - This July 4, 2009 file photo shows Jazz legend Dave Brubeck performing at the 30th edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival in Montreal. Brubeck, a pioneering jazz composer and pianist died Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 of heart failure, after being stricken while on his way to a cardiology appointment with his son. He would have turned 92 on Thursday. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)

HARTFORD, Conn. — You don't have to be a jazz aficionado to recognize "Take Five," the smoky instrumental by the Dave Brubeck Quartet that instantly evokes swinging bachelor pads, hi-fi systems and cool nightclubs of the 1950s and '60s.

"Take Five" was a musical milestone — a deceptively complex jazz composition that managed to crack the Billboard singles chart and introduce a new, adventurous sound to millions of listeners.

In a career that spanned almost all of American jazz since World War II, Brubeck's celebrated quartet combined exotic, challenging tempos with classical influences to create lasting standards.

The pianist and composer behind the group, Brubeck died Wednesday of heart failure at a hospital in Norwalk, Conn. He was a day shy of his 92nd birthday.

Brubeck believed that jazz presented the best face of America to the world.


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