The Brubeck Collection At Wilton Library Launches Digital Archive Of Jazz Legend Dave Brubeck On International Jazz Day | Shore Fire Media

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30 April, 2024Print

The Brubeck Collection At Wilton Library Launches Digital Archive Of Jazz Legend Dave Brubeck On International Jazz Day

22,000+ Item Collection Includes Unreleased Music,

Interactive Tour Maps, Song Timelines, Rare Photos, Videos & More


Dave Brubeck & Louis Armstrong (The Brubeck Collection)

Credit: Don Hunstein/SONY Records


“Dave Brubeck is the reason I don’t have a ‘day job.’ Jazz changed everything for me and Dave did that! He embodied the quintessential American pioneer spirit.” 

- Herbie Hancock


“You can’t understand America without understanding jazz, and you can’t understand jazz without understanding Dave Brubeck.” 

- President Barack Obama 


“Dave had rainbows in his pockets. You always felt a little better after any time you met him.” 

- Wynton Marsalis

International Jazz Day (April 30, 2024) - Today, one of the world’s premier jazz archives, The Brubeck Collection at Wilton Library (Wilton, CT), announced the launch of its enhanced and interactive digital archive, making the 22,000+ item collection catalog easily searchable and browsable online for the first time to everyone worldwide. This new digital archive also includes more than a thousand digitized photos, recordings, scores, and documents.  


This robust collection, established by Dave Brubeck and his wife, Iola, features unreleased music, interactive tour maps, photos, correspondence, concert programs, posters, and song timelines, from the biggest–selling jazz single of all timeTake Five - which Dave Brubeck Quartet member Paul Desmond composed 65 years ago - to Brubeck’s achievements in the classical world with his prolific compositions which include oratorios, orchestral works, choral pieces, quartets, ballets, and chamber works. Made available on International Jazz Day, this rich resource shares Brubeck’s legacy with musicians, students, researchers, jazz aficionados, and anyone curious about the artist’s broad cultural impact and many dimensions: from his music and family life to his involvement in the 1950s and 60s Civil Rights Movement and beyond. Jazz collections of a comparable scope include Duke Ellington’s at the Smithsonian, Ella Fitzgerald’s at the Library of Congress, and Benny Goodman’s at Yale University.


Explore The Brubeck Collection Here

Dave Brubeck Quartet on NBC’s "The Lively Ones" (1962)

“Creating an online digital archive for The Brubeck Collection was an essential step in making its broad scope of materials accessible worldwide,” The Brubeck Collection Curator Michael Bellacosa said. “Dave Brubeck was an internationally renowned musical pioneer and we have been honored to steward his legacy, at Wilton Library and now everywhere. We hope people will enjoy visiting us online as well as in-person, where the full range of this large and important collection can be experienced.”

Interactive Tour Map (The Brubeck Collection)


Dave Brubeck (1920-2012), a pianist and composer whose legendary career spanned more than six decades, was one of the most popular and innovative musicians in the jazz world. The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s acclaimed 1959 Time Out album was the first jazz album to sell a million copies, and the album’s track Take Five - composed by alto saxophonist and longtime collaborator Paul Desmond, who left all the composition proceeds to the Red Cross - became a Top 40 hit and remains the biggest–selling jazz single of all time. Other well-known Brubeck works that have become jazz classics include “Blue Rondo à la Turk,” “In Your Own Sweet Way,” “Unsquare Dance,” and “The Duke.” 


In addition to his decades of success in jazz, Brubeck had a lifelong interest in interweaving jazz and classical music (having studied with famed French composer Darius Milhaud). His compositions include the popular Christmas choral pageant “La Fiesta de la Posada,” ground-breaking collaborations with Leonard Bernstein, “Upon this Rock”—written for Pope John Paul II’s U.S. visit, and “Elemental Brubeck,” choreographed by Lar Lubovitch and part of the San Francisco Ballet’s repertoire. 


Brubeck was a revered performer at international jazz festivals and concert halls and performed at the White House many times. Throughout his career, he received numerous honors and awards including the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a 1954 TIME magazine cover as the leader of a new jazz age. Brubeck was designated a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress and on his 89th birthday in 2009, he received the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors Award.

Dave Brubeck & President Bill Clinton

(The Brubeck Collection) Credit: The White House

Active in the 1950s & 60s Civil Rights Movement, Brubeck refused to play anywhere audiences were segregated, saying “jazz would always represent the music of freedom.” While serving in World War II, Brubeck’s Wolf Pack Band was the first integrated military band. The Brubeck Collection also includes a letter he received from the University of Alabama’s Music Department Chair Wilbur Rowand, thanking Brubeck for helping him integrate a 1964 university concert, despite threats from the Ku Klux Klan.


Born a rancher’s son in California and part of a musical family, Brubeck met his wife, Iola Whitlock, while they attended the College of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. She became his collaborator and wrote lyrics for many of his compositions while working as his manager, booker, and publicist — all while raising six children. After amassing the archival collection, Dave and Iola Brubeck sent the materials to their alma mater in 2000. After Dave and Iola passed, the Brubeck family decided to place the Collection at Wilton Library, located in the family’s hometown for more than 60 years.

Dave Brubeck & son Chris with Walter Cronkite at Wilton, CT home

(The Brubeck Collection)


About Wilton Library:

For more than 128 years, Wilton Library has served as the cultural and intellectual center of Wilton, CT with the mission to inform, enrich, connect, and inspire our community. Home to The Brubeck Collection, one of the world’s premier jazz archives, the library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Road

in the heart of Wilton Center.


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For more information, please contact Shore Fire Media: 

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