Dave Brubeck, the pioneering jazz composer and pianist, has died. He was one day shy of his 92nd birthday.
Russell Gloyd, Brubeck's manager, said he died on Wednesday morning of heart failure after being stricken while on his way to a cardiology appointment. After serving in World War Two and studying at Mills College in Oakland, California, Brubeck formed an octet that included Paul Desmond on alto sax and Dave van Kreidt on tenor, Cal Tjader on drums and Bill Smith on clarinet. The group eventually evolved into the Dave Brubeck Quartet, whose iconic works - such as their signature theme, Take Five - were noted for their exotic, challenging rhythms.
The quartet's 1959 album Time Out was the first jazz LP to sell one million copies and is still among the best-selling albums of all time. Take Five was composed by Brubeck's long-time saxophonist, Desmond, and made the Billboard singles chart in 1961. Awards and acclaim followed him throughout his life. Brubeck was was the first modern jazz musician to appear on the cover of Time magazine, and in 1988 he played for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, at a dinner in Moscow hosted by then-President Ronald Reagan.