Dave BruBeck

35 Years of Legends: Dave Brubeck

This American pianist and composer established his reputation in the mid-1950s. His music had an original quality, informed by classical music influences. In his landmark compositions, he imposes his complex ideas and atypical rhythms on the music. The CD Time Out, featuring the classics Take Five and Blue Rondo à la Turk, confirmed once and for all his quartet’s place in jazz history. 

The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal welcomed Dave Brubeck for the first time in 1981, paying tribute to the pianist who, 30 years earlier, had penned a new chapter in jazz history.

The history of jazz-rock and jazz fusion owes a great deal to Brubeck, who was the first artist to integrate elements from classical composition and contemporary European thought into his music, including atonali­ty, the fugue and counterpoint, as well as some new notions related to harmony.

“I want to lend my music the vigour and strength of straight-up jazz, the harmonic complexities of Bartok and Milhaud, the form and dignity of Bach and, sometimes, the lyric romanticism of Rachmaninov,” Brubeck once explained. For lack of achieving this lofty musical alchemy, the composer, to his credit, never stopped trying.

In 2010, the musician received a special Miles Davis Award for lifetime achievement. Mr. Brubeck played his last Festival concert in 2011. He passed away on December 5, 2012, the day before his 92nd birthday. Our 34th edition was dedicated to this legend of the Festival.