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Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck  Timeline
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Dave Brubeck is both a legend and a Jazz icon, who continues to excite new generations worldwide. Read more.


December 6, 1920 Born in Concord, California

1933 Family moves to a 45,000 acre cattle ranch, Ione, California

1934 Lure of music finds Dave playing piano in local dance bands while in high school

1938 Enters College of the Pacific, Stockton, California as pre-med student to become a veterinarian

1940 Works his way though school as Jazz pianist, changes major to Music

1942 Graduates from College and enters the Army

1942 Marries Iola Whitlock, a student he met at the C.O.P

1944 Served in the European Theatre under Patton, leading "The Wolf Pack," a band primarily made up of wounded infantry men who were the first racially integrated unit in the Army; they often performed at "The Front"

1946 Discharged from army, enrolls at Mills College and studies composition with Darius Milhaud on the G.I. Bill

1947 Performs in Octet with Milhaud students Bill Smith, Dick and Bob Collins, Jack Weeks, and Dave van Kriedt, as well as San Francisco musicians Cal Tjader and Paul Desmond

1947 First son, Darius, is born

1949 First recording with his Trio, that included Cal Tjader & Ron Crotty

1949 Wins Best Small Combo awards in Down Beat Critics and Reader's Poll, and the Metronome Poll

1949 Second son, Michael, is born

1951 Forms Dave Brubeck Quartet which features Paul Desmond on Alto Saxophone

1952 Third son, Christopher, is born

1953 Quartet wins 1st place in Down Beat Reader's and Critic's Poll

1953 Only daughter, Catherine, is born

1954 Dave's popularity inspires a Time magazine cover story

1955 Fourth son, Daniel, is born

1956 Drummer Joe Morello joins the Quartet

1956 Composes ballet, "A Maiden in the Tower"

1958 Bassist Eugene Wright joins the Quartet

1958 First European Tour includes England and Scandinavia

1958 Quartet plays State Department tour of Iron Curtain and Middle Eastern countries - Poland, Turkey, Afghanistan, India, East and West Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Iran and Iraq

1959 Performed with the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Bernstein, performing "Dialogues for Jazz Combo and Orchestra," composed by his brother, Howard

1959 Quartet records "Time Out"

1960 Release of "Time Out"

1961 Single release of Paul Desmond's "Take 5" and Dave's "Blue Rondo A La Turk" becomes the first Jazz instrumental to go "Gold"

1961 Composes 2nd ballet, "Points on Jazz"

1961 Fifth son, Matthew, is born

1962 Composes "The Real Ambassadors," a musical with wife, Iola, which he records with Louis Armstrong

1963 Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops records "Elementals for Jazz Band and Symphony Orchestra" featuring the Quartet with Paul Desmond, performed and recorded again in 1970 with Gerry Mulligan

1964 First White House performance of the Quartet

1967 Disbands the Quartet and forms a new Quartet with Jack Six on bass and Alan Dawson on drums, featuring Gerry Mulligan on Baritone

1968 First major composition recorded "The Light in the Wilderness, An Oratorio For Today" with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Erich Kunzel, Conductor

1969 Composes the Cantata, "Gates of Justice," a composition which utilizes Hebrew Sacred Text and speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King to express the spiritual ties which bind these people together

1971 Composes the Cantata, "Truth is Fallen," written in memory of the slain students of Kent State and Jackson State University; composed for Orchestra/Rock Group and Soprano Soloist

1972 Performs with sons Darius, Chris, Danny and others as "Two Generation of Brubeck"

1974 Inducted as a Duke Ellington Fellow, Yale University

1975 Composes the Christmas Cantata, "La Fiesta De La Posada"

1976 Reunion Tour of the Classic Quartet: Dave, Paul Desmond, Gene Wright and Joe Morello

1976 Bicentennial composition, "They All Sang Yankee Doodle," premiered with Erich Kunzel and the New Haven Symphony Orchestra

1977 Last concert with Paul Desmond, at Lincoln Center

1977 Paul Desmond dies, May 30

1977 Forms a group with Dave, Chris, Darius and Dan called the New Brubeck Quartet

1978 Composes the Cantata, "Beloved Son"

1978 Composes "Tritonis" for Guitar and Flute

1979 The New Dave Brubeck Quartet, with sons Darius, Chris and Danny, performs at Montreux Jazz Festival

1979 Jerry Bergonzi and Butch Miles replace Darius and Danny Brubeck in Quartet

1980 Composes "To Hope! A Celebration (A Mass For A New Decade)"

1982 Bill Smith and Randy Jones replace Jerry Bergonzi and Butch Miles in Quartet

1983 Composes "Pange Lingua Variations" for Chorus and Orchestra

1983 Composes third ballet, "Glances"

1985 Composes the Cantata "The Voice of the Holy Spirit - Tongues of Fire"

1987 First tour of the USSR

1988 Composes the Cantata "Lenten-Triptych - Easter Trilogy"

1988 After heart surgery works on composition "Chromatique Fantasie" and "In Praise of Mary," aka Concordia Lititia"

1989 Entertains world leaders at Reagan-Gorbochov Summit in Moscow

1989 Performs portions of the Mass for Pope John Paul II in San Francisco

1990 70th Birthday Concert with London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Russell Gloyd that includes four sons, Darius, Matthew, Chris and Dan Brubeck, and guest star Stephane Grappelli

1991 Composes "Joy in the Morning"

1991 Premier of Choral composion "When The Lord Is Pleased"

1992 Composition "Earth Is Our Mother," for baritone solo and mixed chorus is premiered by the University of North Michigan

1994 National Medal of the Arts presented to Dave by President Bill Clinton

1994 Elected to DownBeat Magazine Reader's Hall of Fame.

1995 Rutgers University Institute of Jazz Studies awards Dave a place in their American Jazz Hall of Fame

1995 75th Birthday Celebration with London Symphony Orchestra and four sons performing all-Brubeck program

1996 Inducted into the International Jazz Hall of Fame

1998 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

1998 Composition "Hold Fast To Dreams," a major work for choir and soloists based on the poetry of Langston Hughes.

1999 Named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts

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