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Dave Brubeck Archives Headed to Connecticut

The Wilton Library will host the pianist's personal recordings, photos and more

Dave Brubeck (photo by Joe Alper/ courtesy of Joe Alper Photo Collection LLC)
Dave Brubeck in the early 1960s (photo by Joe Alper/ courtesy of Joe Alper Photo Collection LLC)

Speculation about the archives of the late jazz piano legend Dave Brubeck has continued since the Brubeck family announced in March of 2019 that they would end their 20-year relationship with the University of the Pacific. It was put to rest on January 11, when Wilton Library, in the Brubecks’ longtime home of Wilton, Connecticut, announced that they would now house the Brubeck collection.

The collection will be placed in a dedicated room at the library, Executive Director Elaine Tai-Lauria said.

“Dave was always interested in a living legacy,” said his son Chris. “He was wooed by Yale and the Smithsonian … but what could better be an emotional center of the archives than where they lived?”

A key figure in the West Coast jazz movement of the 1950s, California native Brubeck gained international renown with his blues-ridden piano style and a number of important and innovative compositions that became jazz standards—including “In Your Own Sweet Way,” “The Duke,” and “Blue Rondo a la Turk.” Although “Take Five” was actually written by his collaborator, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, Brubeck’s 1959 recording of the tune was a Top 40 hit that remains one of the most recognizable records in the jazz canon. He died in 2012.

Located in Stockton, California, the University of the Pacific was Brubeck’s alma mater (and that of his wife and sometime lyricist, Iola, who died in 2014). It housed Brubeck’s archives beginning in 1999, also naming its jazz studies program the Brubeck Institute and holding an annual Brubeck festival in October. With the transfer of the archives to Wilton Library, the University of Pacific will no longer use the Brubeck name.

The pianist’s archives include his recordings, correspondence, photographs, manuscripts, legal and business documents, and other memorabilia.

Wilton Library did not announce a firm date on which it would either receive the archives or open them to the public.