Dave Brubeck Played Until the End

I’ve lost three friends in the past several months. Lately, I’ve been very reflective about how short our lives are and how we spend our time, even up to the end.


Last January, Mary and I went to a concert to see Taylor Eigsti play with the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra. It was a wonderful evening of Brubeck and Gershwin. 

Introducing a Brubeck number, Taylor reflected on being at Brubeck’s home about a month before he died. Dave was weak, but still working. He said Dave had a small Casio piano at the dinner table and was arranging on it between courses. Working on his love right up until the end. 

Sometimes it seems the old masters will never be surpassed, yet the next generation keeps it moving forward. We should all be so lucky to work on what we love before we check out. 




Taylor and Conductor, Mitchell Sardou Klein



In 1957, as a senior at Berkeley High School, I was editor of “Berkeley Highlights,” our weekly radio show. In that role, I got to interview Dave Brubeck when he came to play at BHS.
I didn’t know what to say. I stumbled through some questions about his background and his thoughts about the relationship between classical music and jazz. I don’t remember anything more about the interview or about the concert. Years later, I sent him a copy of this photo from our yearbook. He graciously autographed it. It is one of my most prized possessions. 





5 thoughts on “Dave Brubeck Played Until the End

  1. John Warren says:

    You and I have been together at PowerSpeaking since 1988.
    We continue to play the "music" that you created, and it keeps getting better
    I am so glad you did’t trash that first letter!

  2. Fritz Brauner says:

    Miles Davis said it well:

    "A legend is an old man with a cane known for what he used to do. I’m still doing it."

    So, until the end, until we have to go, just keep doing it!!

  3. Hal Anjo says:

    Dave Brubeck’s music was my introduction to jazz about the same time that you and I were in high school. Little did I know that doors would continuously open into the the broad reaches of jazz and its relative – classical music. Thanks Dave!!

  4. Katie/Dusty Willmarth Green says:

    Hey, Ricky. In the ’80s I served on the Vermont Mozart Festival Board and had the great privilege of meeting one of my great heroes, Mr. Dave Brubeck, and also his son, when a trio (?) of theirs played the festival. A sweet, very approachable man. Besides loving his style of club jazz, I enjoy his religious choral compositions and especially admire the high standards he observed in his personal life.

  5. Michael Joyce says:

    Many, many decades ago my wife and I went to South Lake Tahoe to see Dave Brubeck play. Well into a superb trio performance, Brubeck stopped and introduced the two men playing with him, his sons. My feeling was we were receiving much more than his music in their relationship. In his last years we saw him when he appeared for a Christmas concert at a church in San Francisco. He was helped up the stairs to stage and piano, and sat in his still impressive upright way with his hands floating over the keys playing his own composition, entirely classical. More than talented, more than gifted, he was persistent in evolving through self effort and Grace.

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