Brubeck played Newport nearly every year since '55
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Dave Brubeck once said it wouldn’t seem like summer without Newport.
The pianist known for his groundbreaking style on the jazz song ‘‘Take Five’’ played the Newport Jazz Festival nearly every year since 1955, his 50 or more appearances making him the famed summer music event’s most frequent musician, festival founder George Wein said. He was a fan favorite at Newport who played there with artists as varied as Tony Bennett and Wynton Marsalis.
Brubeck died Wednesday in Connecticut, a day before his 92nd birthday.
‘‘There’s only one Dave Brubeck. There'll never be another,’’ Wein told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Brubeck told the AP in an interview in 2004, upon the 50th anniversary of the festival, that he loved playing at Newport’s Fort Adams, which looks out onto Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay.
‘‘There’s no way anything can go wrong there,’’ he said. ‘‘You have the people on the grass in front of the bandstand and then further out there are people floating around in their boats in the bay, and that’s very special.’’
Brubeck last played Newport in 2010 with Marsalis, Wein said.
In 2011, Wein booked Brubeck’s sons, the Brubeck Brothers, to play at the famed summer festival. Brubeck had been occasionally performing and was scheduled to sit in as a guest with his sons.
At the last minute, Wein got a call saying Brubeck didn’t want to go on. He found Brubeck sitting in a car next to the stage where his sons were playing.
‘‘He said ‘George, I don’t feel I can live up to the quality of playing,'’’ Wein said Brubeck told him.
‘‘We just sat there with his sons playing,’’ Wein said. ‘‘It was a beautiful, beautiful moment. He’s never played in public since.’’
Wein visited Brubeck at his home two weeks ago. They had lunch and reminisced about the old days and tours they took together of Europe and Japan. Wein said Brubeck was frail, but his mind was clear.
‘‘There was nothing that he didn’t remember,’’ Wein said. ‘‘He loved his music, right up until the end.’’