Remembering Jazz Icon Dave Brubeck

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Dave Brubeck, one of the most influential and popular figures in jazz, died Wednesday of heart failure in Norwalk, Conn., the day before he would have turned 92 years old. 

Best known for his iconic quartet recordings from the late 1950s and '60s -- particularly on his seminal 1959 album Time Out -- Brubeck brought an inventive polyrhythmic approach to composition that changed the shape and sound of jazz.

"He made the name 'Dave' cool," says Gary Giddins, jazz critic and Executive Director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography at CUNY's Graduate Center. "He made horn-rimmed glasses cool. The guy looked in so many ways to be so square -- and yet he really did become a defining figure that people just gravitated to."

Giddins joins us to remember Brubeck's iconic style in a career that spanned almost seven decades and more than 100 albums and to play three of his favorite songs from the pianist and composer.

Dave Brubeck joined us on Soundcheck in 2002 -- and you can listen to his appearance below. 

Dave Brubeck on Soundcheck, 7/25/2002


Beyond "Take Five": Gary Giddin's Plays Three Must-Hear Songs From Dave Brubeck:

"Balcony Rock," from Jazz Goes to College (1954)

"The Duke," from Jazz: Red Hot and Cool (1955)

"St. Louis Blues," from Jazz Goes to Junior College (1957)