5 December 2012 12:35 PM, PST | Vulture | See recent Vulture news »

The jazz pianist Dave Brubeck died this morning, a day short of his 92nd birthday — one of the last living titans from jazz's greatest era. Brubeck will be remembered for his decades of consistently excellent playing, but most of all, he'll be remembered for one album: Time Out.Brubeck's Time Out was the most popular jazz album of 1959, no small feat considering that 1959 is usually considered recorded jazz's greatest year — it produced Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, Ornette Coleman's Shape of Jazz to Come, John Coltrane's Giant Steps, and Charles Mingus's Mingus Ah Um. Looking back, it's hard to fathom Time Out's popularity. It wasn't just that a jazz album reached number No. 2 on the Billboard pop charts decades after jazz was popular music, but that the album that did it made almost clinical sport out of turning uncommon time signatures into comfortable, elegant melodies. The »

- Eric Benson

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