Darius Brubeck

All About Jazz user Darius Brubeck

Son of Dave Brubeck, pianist/composer, started first university jazz course in South Africa, was there for over 20 years, 2 Fulbright awards, now based in London and playing full-time.

From: United Kingdom | Profile Views: 1,160

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Early career

During the 1970s, 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) as an additional pianist and keyboardist. Several albums were recorded along the way. His 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 2005. After retirement from full-time teaching he was made a Senior Research Associate of the School of Music.

South Africa

For 15 years Darius Brubeck and Afro Cool Concept (a band with South Africa’s premier alto saxophonist, Barney Rachabane performed all over Southern Africa and beyond. 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 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 Holland.

Beginning in 1988 with “The Jazzanians”, the first mixed-race student band from a South African university, Brubeck formed and led several bands officially representing his university and South Africa, giving workshops and concerts in the USA, UK, Europe, Peru, Thailand and Turkey. This includes five International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) conferences in the USA.


Apart from writing for his own bands, Darius’ 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 Brubeck 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

Darius’ very first album, “Chaplin’s Back” (1972) was re-issued in 2010 on his Gathering Forces label, which also released “For Lydia and the Lion” (The Darius Brubeck Quartet) and “Earthrise” (Gathering Forces). “Gathering Forces” was the name of Darius’ former fusion band in the '70s and early '80s. A later version of ‘GF’ featured Deepak Ram on bansuri and recorded “Gathering Forces 2”.


Brubeck is a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Jazz Studies. He taught jazz history and composition at Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul in 2007 and again in 2010 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania at the Gheorghe Dima Academy of Music. Performances in 2010 include a tour of England billed as ‘Brubecks Play Brubeck’ with his brothers Chris and Dan and saxophonist Dave O’Higgins and the FIFA World Cup in Durban, South Africa with South African musicians. In 2009, he played at the Kennedy Center Honors awards ceremony honouring his father, Dave Brubeck. Other recent highlights have been performances at in the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and the South African National Arts Festival. His regular group, The Darius Brubeck Quartet is based in London and plays frequently at clubs and festivals in the UK.

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