♦ US pianist, composer and bandleader
He was born in Concord, California. He was tutored by his mother, a classical pianist, and he went on to study music at the College of the Pacific, Stockton, California, leading a twelve-piece jazz band and at the same time studying composition under Darius Milhaud. Towards the end of World War II he was stationed in Europe, leading a service band, but in 1946 he resumed his studies and began to make his reputation as an experimental musician with his Jazz Workshop Ensemble. He reached a wider public with the Dave Brubeck Quartet formed in 1951, including alto saxophonist Paul Desmond. Desmond's composition "Take Five", in 5/4 time, became one of the most popular recordings in jazz. From 1972, he involved his three sons in various combinations in his bands. He has composed larger-scale works such as ballets, a mass and pieces for jazz group and orchestra, and has continued to tour and record with small groups throughout the 2000s. His jazz opera Cannery Row Suite premièred in Monterey in 2006, he recorded a solo album Indian Summer in 2007 and co-wrote a new orchestral work Ansel Adams: America in 2009. He was made Officer, L"Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1990, and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994. In 1996 he was awarded a Grammy for lifetime achievement.
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