In the ‘80s Brubeck led a quartet that featured clarinetist Bill Smith, a former Octet member, with his son Chris on electric bass and RAndy Jones on drums. This group toured the Soviet Union in 1987 and along with former bassist, EuGene Wright, accompanied President Reagan to Moscow to perform at the Reagan-Gorbachev Summit in 1988. Since the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s first appearance at a State Dinner for King Hussein of Jordan during the Johnson administration, Brubeck has performed at The White House on several occasions and for many different Presidents.
Shortly after the dissolution of the “classic” Quartet, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, with Erich Kunzel conducting, premiered Brubeck’s oratorio,” The Light in the Wilderness” (February 1968). The following year Brubeck’s second major work “The Gates of Justice”, a cantata based on the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Old Testament, was also premiered by Kunzel in Cincinnati. It has since been re-recorded by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Cantor Abraham Mizrahi, tenor and Kevin Deas, bass-baritone, for the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music, Russell Gloyd conducting.
Throughout his career Brubeck has continued to experiment with interweaving jazz and classical music. He has performed as composer-performer with most of the major orchestras in the United States and with prestigious choral groups and orchestras in Europe and America. Dave cites as some of the highlights of his career the premier of his composition “Upon This Rock” for Pope John Paul II’s visit to San Francisco and the performances of his mass “To Hope! A Celebration” in St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna and in Moscow with the Russian National Orchestra and Orloff choir.
Dave Brubeck’s compositions include a popular Christmas choral pageant “La Fiesta de la Posada”, oratorios and cantatas, ballet suites, a string quartet, chamber ensembles, pieces for solo and duo-piano, violin solos and orchestral works. His mass “To Hope! A Celebration” has been performed throughout the English speaking world, Germany, Russia and Austria and was recorded in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. In 2002 the London Symphony Orchestra and London Voices recorded in “Classical Brubeck” his Easter oratorio “Beloved Son”, “Pange Lingua Variations”, “The Voice of the Holy Spirit” and a composition for string orchestra, “Regret”, all under the baton of Russell Gloyd, who since 1976 has been associated with Brubeck as conductor, producer and manager. A mini-opera based on Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row” was presented at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2006.
While increasingly active as a composer, Brubeck has remained a leading figure in jazz, recording for Telarc, appearing in festivals and touring internationally in concert halls with today’s version of the Dave Brubeck Quartet-- Bobby Militello, sax and flute, RAndy Jones, drums, Michael Moore, bass. As in the Dave Brubeck Quartet decades ago, each is a master musician and their concert repertoire ranges from “hits” from the old Quartet “book” to cutting edge new material.
Throughout his long career Dave Brubeck has received national and international honors, including the National Medal of the Arts from President Clinton, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Smithsonian Medal, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He holds numerous honorary doctorates from American, Canadian, English and German universities, including an honorary degree in Sacred Theology from Fribourg University, Switzerland. Recently, Brubeck received the Distinguished Arts Award from the Ford Honors program of the University of Michigan and in 2006 received from Notre Dame their highest honor, the Laetare Medal. He is a Duke Ellington Fellow at Yale University, and was presented with the Sanford Medal by the Yale School of Music
In the year 2000 the National Endowment for the Arts declared Dave Brubeck a Jazz Master. He was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2007 he received a Living Legacy Jazz Award from Kennedy Center and the Arison Award from the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts.
His international honors include Austria’s highest award for the Arts, a citation from the French government, and the Bocconi Medal from Italy. The London Symphony Orchestra, acknowledging their long association, presented him with their prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.
The most recent honor from his alma mater, the University of the Pacific, is the President’s Medal of Achievement presented by Donald V. De Rosa. Dave Brubeck serves as chairman of The Brubeck Institute that the University of the Pacific established in his honor.
Dave Brubeck’s most recent recording is a highly praised solo piano album “Indian Summer” that was named 2007 Album of the Year by Douglas Lytle, of blomberg.com.
Photo and bio courtesy of http://www.davebrubeck.com/live/