What can you say about pianist and composer Dave Brubeck that hasn't already been said? At the ripe age of 82, he's been at the forefront of so many movements in music, starting with the whole West Coast cool jazz approach, which would later stagnate in the hands of lesser artists. Steeped in the tradition and technical proficiency of European classical music, Brubeck was the first jazz artist to bend the youngsters' ears on college campuses -- his famous quartet with Paul Desmond still sounds ahead of its time on such classics as 1953's Jazz at Oberlin.
Those unaware of his studies with French composer Darius Milhaud might have thought that Brubeck's experiments with odd time signatures on the seminal Time Out came from nowhere, but these, too, were just a natural extension of Brubeck's highly developed expertise. His latest stop in town is part of a benefit for the Cleveland Institute of Music, with whose orchestra Brubeck will perform. In 2001, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from CIM, an institution that shares both his age (Brubeck was born in 1920, the same year CIM was founded) and rich musical legacy.
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