Legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck died of heart failure in Connecticut today en route to a routine appointment with his cardiologist, his longtime manager has confirmed. Tomorrow would have been Brubeck's 92nd birthday.
In his decades-long career, Brubeck scoffed at racists who said white people shouldn't be playing jazz in black clubs, and scoffed again at jazz traditionalists by tinging his music with notes of European classicism, picked up from listening to long bouts of Chopin with his mother. "Frankly, labels bore me," Brubeck once told the Chicago Tribune.
Though Brubeck will probably be best remembered for "Take Five," his oeuvre and accolades run deep, stretching from the late 1940s into recent years. But he wasn't always so successful. In a 2001 PBS documentary, Brubeck remembers a time on the road when he had to put his wife and children up in a drafty shack in Salt Lake City because he couldn't afford the $8 hotel room. The interviewer asks him why he didn't quit under such pressures. "I wasn't talented in any other way," Brubeck responds. "This is about all I had."
[Image via AP]