RIP: Dave Brubeck, Jazz Giant, Dead @ 91

Jazz and American music in general lost a giant yesterday. Seldom has America produced a more lofty or truer original than David Warren Brubeck. Pianist, composer, trend setter, group and orchestra leader, ambassador, gentleman. He was all of those and more. I find it difficult to put into words my feelings for the man and the musician. I literally grew up on his music. I developed a love and admiration of jazz because of giants like Brubeck and Davis. It’s a sad time but god how much more rewarding has my life and that of millions of others been because of his presence on the music scene for all these many years. Music has lost one of its greatest icons. RIP, David. How wonderful it was to have had you among us. — WILLIAM C. HENRY

NEW YORKER: Those musicians, too hip for their own good, who dismiss Brubeck as square do so at their own loss. Whether or not he was to your taste, he was both brilliant and important: an iconoclastic player recognizable from one clustered chord, a restless composer pushing the bounds of genre, and a bridge between the past of the music and the future. […] Brubeck is most often remembered for his classic quartet of the nineteen-fifties and sixties, hunched over the piano with his oversized horn-rimmed glasses and dark suit, exemplifying geek chic for college hipsters decades before the current trend. His music was brainy and catchy at the same time. The hummable melodies hid the crunchy harmonies, odd time signatures, and sophisticated counterpoint. MORE