Index Throwback: Dave Brubeck

When famed jazz band leader Dave Brubeck visited Kalamazoo in 1974, WJMD and The Index were able to sit down for an interview

By Katie Schmitz

Take Five: Dave Brubeck (left) and his ensemble performing at Kalamazoo Central High School in 1974.

 

Dave Brubeck was a famous jazz pianist and composer. His career started in the 1940s, and he gained wider recognition after appearing on the cover of Time Magazine in 1945. He is perhaps best known for his song “Take Five,” which he composed with his group, the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

In August of 1974, Brubeck and his son came to Kalamazoo to perform in the auditorium of Central High School. The show what a part of a tour Brubeck was doing in which he visited multiple College campuses with his son and their band.

Kalamazoo College’s radio station, WJMD, and the Index were able to get an interview with Brubeck’s son, Darius, and a fellow band member. During the interview, the K Student interviewer played songs for Darius and his band to see if he could guess what they were. After the test, which they passed, the band members discussed what they thought of the selected pieces.

Throughout his career, Dave Brubeck received endless recognition and awards for his work. He was even recognized during the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors for “exhibiting excellence in the performing arts.” At the ceremony, Brubeck was introduced by President Obama, who stated, “You can’t understand America without understanding jazz, and you can’t understand jazz without understanding Dave Brubeck.”

Along with his title of Kennedy Center Honoree and recognition from the President, Brubeck has also received an honorary degree from Kalamazoo College. In 1991, the presenter of the honorary degree stated, “Dave Brubeck continues to enrich the world with his performances, his compositions, and his tireless devotion to the world of music.”

Brubeck passed away one day before his 92nd birthday on December 5, 2012. He will forever be remembered by Kalamazoo College, and the rest touched by his music, as one of the most influential jazz musicians to ever live.

 

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