Wilton exhibition remembers Dave Brubeck
In addition to the Scholarly Series it presents with Wilton Library, the Wilton Historical Society at 224 Danbury Road will mark the Dave Brubeck centennial with an exhibition that takes into account his personal life and his time in Wilton. Included will be a film that shows his early life and an interview in which Brubeck talks about his work.
Remembering Dave: A Brubeck Family Album opens with a reception on Friday, Feb. 21, from 4 to 6 p.m. The reception is open to the community. It is free to society members and those under 18, $10 for non-member adults.
When he bestowed the Kennedy Center Honor in 2009, President Barack Obama said, “In order to understand America, you have to understand jazz, and in order to understand jazz, you have to understand Dave Brubeck.”
In receiving that honor, Brubeck said that while the award was a great personal honor, it was also significant “that this honor recognizes the importance of jazz in American culture.”
As a pianist, bandleader and composer, Brubeck (1920-2012) broke ground on many fronts. He brought first to college campuses and later concert halls and jazz festivals music that was accessible on many levels to national and international audiences. Much of his work was informed by the events of the day with much of his work containing a moral message of nonviolence, tolerance and forgiveness.
The historical society’s exhibition incorporates material from the Dave Brubeck: Jazz Ambassador show, which detailed his illustrious 70-year career and was presented at Jazz at Lincoln Center soon after Brubeck’s death. Other highlights include facets of his life such as his impact as a composer, a performer, a civil rights activist and as a family man.
The exhibition also speaks to Brubeck’s life in Wilton with his wife Iola and six children, including musicians Darius, Chris and Dan. Growing up on a cattle ranch in California, with the thought that ranching was his future, he learned how to be a cowboy. Visitors will see a Western-style saddle that belonged to his father, as well as Brubeck’s cowboy hat.
Another highlight of the exhibition is the opportunity to see a new short film produced by the Brubeck family which contains rare footage of “Cowboy Dave.” The film also shows Wilton composer, lyricist, pianist, and educator Eugenie Rocherolle interviewing fellow musician Dave Brubeck.
The exhibition will run through April 18.
This and other Brubeck-centered events in Wilton coincide with Dave Brubeck 100, a world-wide celebration of Brubeck’s 100th birthday, which will be Dec. 6. Among the events taking place are numerous performances by the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, featuring Dan and Chris Brubeck; the Tucson Ballet’s premiere of “Unsquare,” based on Brubeck compositions; the Atlanta Ballet dancing to Brubeck’s “Elementals;” orchestral performances of “Ansel Adams: America,” written by Dave and Chris Brubeck; and many tribute performances by jazz ensembles around the country.