6 Dec 2012

Jazz great Dave Brubeck dies

11:08 pm on 6 December 2012

Jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck has died, aged 91.

The American musician enjoyed phenomenal success with The Dave Brubeck Quartet in the 1950s and '60s, selling millions of albums.

Their 1959 album Time Out spawned the biggest-selling jazz single of all time, Take Five.

Brubeck disbanded the quartet in 1967 to enable him to concentrate on composing though they reconvened regularly over the next decade, the BBC reports.

The musician had several other touring bands over the years, and three of his sons would regularly join him in concert in the 1970s.

Born in California, Brubeck once planned to be a vet, but his mother played the piano, and gave him an interest in music.

He once joked that he suspected he'd been introduced to the instrument while still in the womb.

The musician had a formal music education and it was his teacher, French composer Darius Milhaud, who encouraged him to turn to jazz.

He went on to compose some 250 jazz pieces and songs. He also wrote music for ballet, orchestral works, oratorios and other sacred music.

He died on Wednesday morning in hospital in Connecticut, his manager Russell Gloyd told the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

He is survived by wife Iola, four sons and a daughter as well as grandsons and a great granddaughter.