Though originally planned to honor jazz legend Dave Brubeck's 92nd birthday, a celebration of the long-time Wilton resident's music is still scheduled to take place tonight in Waterbury, despite Brubeck's unexpected death yesterday.
Born Dec. 6, 1920, Brubeck died of heart failure yesterday morning at Norwalk Hospital en route to a routine check-up with his cardiologist. He was 91.
Originally billed as tonight's concert was renamed "Thank You, Dave Brubeck" and will take place at the Palace Theater, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available for $40.50, $53.50 or $80.50, depending on seating preference, and can be purchased through this website.
"We are deeply saddened to hear of jazz legend Dave Brubeck’s unexpected passing this morning, one day short of his 92nd birthday celebration at the Palace," the Palace Theater's Facebook page reads. "As a 'thank you' to Dave for his ground-breaking contributions to the jazz community, tomorrow night’s 7:30pm concert, presented by his daughter Catherine’s charity Jazz’d For Life, will take place as scheduled."
According to the venue's website, saxophonist Richie Cannata and guitarist Bernie Williams (he of Yankee fame) will be joined by Jullio Fernandez, Eren Cannata, Joel Rosenblatt, Gene Perez, Chris Clark, Brad Mason, Fred Wallcott, Nicole Zuraitis, Gina Sicilia, Louise Baranger, Rachel Z, Omar Hakim, Ali Ryerson, Darius Brubeck, James Montgomery, Rich Lataille, Mark Earley, and Chris Brubeck, among others, at the concert.
In addition to being a revolutionary jazz musician, Brubeck defied segregation.
"He challenged racial barriers by hiring the African-American bassist Eugene Wright as part of his quartet in 1958 and proceeding to tour the South, a region of the country that did not welcome mixed-race bands," writes Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune. "Brubeck and his wife, Iola, in the 1960s created 'The Real Ambassadors,' a musical that addressed racism head-on and featured Louis Armstrong at a time when the trumpeter was wrongly considered out-of-step with the civil rights era."
The community weighs in
Yesterday, "Dave Brubeck" was a trending topic on Twitter. Many took to the musician's Facebook page to express their sadness over Brubeck's passing as well.
Patch readers also commented on the loss of one of the more famous members of the community:
- "A tremendous loss for the music community and for our local community. Truly an icon. My prayers are with the Brubeck family." —WiltonMommy
- "Oh no! Such a loss not only for our community but for music lovers worldwide. I saw Dave and his group perform some years ago at Carnegie Hall, and even in his 80s, he still "had juice." My sympathy goes out to the Brubeck family." —Lorna
- "There needs to be a special memorial celebration in Wilton and we all should wear something with a music theme to honor Dave. A huge loss, God bless the Brubeck family at this time of grieving." —Anthony Bennie
- "The town needs to formally acknowledge the passing of not only a music legend, but the patriarch of a family that has given so much to this community. We owe them, and I'm very sorry for their loss." —Sue Donem
- "The music world has lost a legend. R.I.P. Dave!
On a personal note: A few years ago while sitting waiting to have some blood tests done at Norwalk Medical Center, Brubeck entered and like everyone picked a number to wait his turn. Recognizing him, I said: "You shouldn't have to take any number but five!" which brought a smile to his face. A true gentleman." —Joe Buhler