Brubeck exhibition has a Wilton vibe

WILTON — Joining in the Dave Brubeck centennial, the Wilton Historical Society will welcome visitors to its newest exhibition, “Remembering Dave: A Brubeck Family Album,” on Feb. 21. The show kicks off with a free reception from 4 to 6 p.m. at the museum complex at 224 Danbury Road.

“With the centennial here, we’re very excited to be part of that,” said historical society co-director Allison Sanders.

Guests at the exhibition will first be greeted by a selfie-station, where they may don thick black eyeglasses, reminiscent of Dave Brubeck’s signature eyewear, and take a photo by a poster of the jazz legend proclaiming #Brubeck100. Dave Brubeck 100 is the worldwide celebration of the 100th anniversary of the composer, pianist, cultural ambassador and visionary musician that will take place on Dec. 6 — the date of his birthday.

There are also buttons spelling out Dave Brubeck 100 years with the distinctive glasses.

A display of some of Brubeck’s album covers guides visitors to the downstairs gallery where, at the top of the stairs, they will see evidence of the musician’s decidedly unmusical early years when he was a working cowboy on his father’s cattle ranch. There are photos of him astride his horse and a western saddle used by his father. Brubeck never let go of those early years, as the cowboy hat he had later in life attests.

The gallery walls are divided in sections titled Jazz Ambassador, VIP, Civil Rights Activist, Family Man, and At Home in Wilton. Within those sections are all sorts of memorabilia including a proclamation signed by former Gov. William O’Neill proclaiming May 9, 1986 Dave Brubeck Day in Connecticut and a letter signed by Brubeck in which he refuses to play before a segregated audience.

A half-hour film will play periodically that includes family movies, a conversation between Brubeck and Wilton musician Eugenie Rocherolle, and snippets of music.

A painting by Wilton artist Ed MacEwen depicts a scene from the Brubeck home on Millstone Road of a structure Brubeck built that he called BenElana, after two of his grandchildren. It was there he would go to find peace and compose. A similar scene photographed by Larry Lederman will also be on display. Lederman photographed the Brubeck home extensively for a spread last year in Town & Country magazine.

At the opening, student jazz musicians from Wilton High School will entertain.