Jazz composer, pianist Dave Brubeck dies

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Jazz composer and pianist Dave Brubeck, whose pioneering style in pieces such as “Take Five” caught listeners’ ears with exotic, challenging rhythms, has died. He was 91.

Brubeck, who lived in Wilton, died Wednesday morning at Norwalk Hospital of heart failure after being stricken while on his way to a cardiology appointment with his son Darius, said his manager Russell Gloyd. Brubeck would have turned 92 on Thursday.

Brubeck had a career that spanned almost all American jazz since World War II. He formed The Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1951 and was the first modern jazz musician to be pictured on the cover of Time magazine — on Nov. 8, 1954 — and he helped define the swinging, smoky rhythms of 1950s and ’60s club jazz.

George Wein, a jazz pianist and founder of the Newport Jazz Festival, had known Brubeck since he first worked in Wein’s club in Boston in 1952.

“No one else played like Dave Brubeck,” he said. “No one had the approach to the music that he did. That approach communicated.”

Brubeck “represented the best that we can have in jazz,” he added. “The quality of his persona helped every other jazz musician.”

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