Darius Brubeck (born June 14, 1947) is an American jazz keyboardist and educator. He is the son of jazz legend Dave Brubeck. He spent many years in Durban, South Africa, as a professor and head of the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at the University of Natal.
Darius Brubeck was born in San Francisco, California. He majored in ethnomusicology and the history of religion at Wesleyan University, graduating cum laude. Brubeck holds an MPhil from Nottingham University. "He was awarded a Bellagio Project Residency (Rockefeller Foundation) as Composer in 2005 and received 'Outstanding Service to Jazz Education' awards in 1988, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2005 and 2006." Darius performed (with all three of his brothers) at the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors Gala when his father received a medal for his lifetime contribution to American culture. President Barack Obama and Mrs Michelle Obama were in the audience. Brubeck currently lives in London, England.
During the 1970s and early ‘80s, pianist Brubeck led his own groups, played with Don McLean, Larry Coryell and toured the world with Two Generations of Brubeck and The New Brubeck Quartet (Dave, Darius, Chris and Dan Brubeck). Several albums were recorded along the way.
Brubeck's focus changed to South Africa in 1983, when he initiated the first degree course in Jazz Studies offered by an African university. He taught at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Durban, South Africa and was later appointed Director of the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, where he remained until 2006. After leaving full-time teaching, he was made a Senior Research Associate of the School of Music. While based in London, he taught courses at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Brunel University. He has an M.Phil Degree from Nottingham University, where he also taught jazz history for a year.
For 15 years Darius Brubeck and Afro Cool Concept (a band with South Africa’s premier alto saxophonist Barney Rachabane, toured all over southern Africa and overseas. The band’s last CD, Still On My Mind, was released in 2003 on Sheer Sound. Other recordings released by Sheer include Before It’s Too Late (2004) and Tugela Rail and Other Tracks (2007).
International tours included a series of concerts celebrating 10 years of democracy in South Africa. In 2004, together again with his brothers (Chris and Dan), Darius headlined at the National Arts “Joy of Jazz Festival”, South Africa, and directed the South African National Youth Jazz Band at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands.
Beginning in 1988 with “The Jazzanians”, the first mixed-race student band from a South African university, Brubeck formed several bands that officially represented his university and South Africa. He was also invited to play and/or give workshops in the UK, Europe, Turkey, Peru, and Thailand and at five International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) conferences in the USA.
Apart from writing for his own bands, Darius Brubeck's arrangements and a composition for Dave Brubeck's 80th birthday can be heard on Dave Brubeck – Live with the LSO (2000). In 2005, the Rockefeller Foundation awarded Darius a residency as a composer at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Italy. In 2004, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra commissioned a piece by Darius and Zim Ngqawana, setting music to extracts from speeches by Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. These were read by Morgan Freeman at the New York premiere.
Gathering Forces (GF) was the name of Darius Brubeck’s former fusion band in the 1970s and early '80s that recorded Earthrise. A later version of GF featuring Deepak Ram on bansuri recorded Gathering Forces 2. Brubeck's new CD label, which released For Lydia and the Lion and Earthrise in 2008, is called Gathering Forces.
Brubeck is a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Jazz Studies. He taught at Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul in 2007 and spent the first term of 2010 at the Gheorghe Dima Music Academy in Cluj (Romania). Recent performances include appearances at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in 2007 and 2008, the Kennedy Center Honors Gala Concert in 2009. His current group, The Darius Brubeck Quartet, continues to be featured at UK Festivals and top London jazz clubs including appearances at Ronnie Scott's in London. In addition to the “The Darius Brubeck Quartet”, his bands now include “Brubecks Play Brubeck” with his brothers and “Gathering Forces” (with bansuri master, Deepak Ram). In November 2010, "Brubecks Play Brubeck", featuring three Brubeck brothers (Darius, Chris, Dan) plus British saxophonist Dave O’Higgins, toured 11 cities in the United Kingdom. Although intended to be a one-off event, "Brubecks Play Brubeck" toured in the UK again in 2011 and 2013 and played at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in 2012.
Darius Brubeck has created music for all types of ensemble, large and small, and one of his recent pieces is now included in the Royal School’s international Grade V piano syllabus.
- The Cambridge Companion to Jazz, Mervyn Cooke and David Horn (eds), Cambridge University Press, 2002; "Notes on contributors", p. viii.
- John Fordham, "Brubecks Play Brubeck – review", The Guardian, 30 November 2010.
- Darius Brubeck's website
- Kennedy, Gary W.: "Darius Brubeck", Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (accessed 31 August 2007) (subscription required)