Darius is an American jazz pianist, composer, author and former university professor (still active as an independent academic) residing in England.
Born in San Francisco, jazz pianist and composer Darius Brubeck grew up in the artistic milieu of his famous father Dave and has enjoyed a lifetime of varied international experience as band leader, composer, teacher and broadcaster. The Brubeck family moved to Connecticut where Darius attended high school and graduated cum laude from Wesleyan University where he studied ethnomusicology and history of religion. Much later he was awarded an M. Phil. by Nottingham University where he was a Visiting Fellow in Music.
After university Darius led his own groups, played with Don McLean, Larry Coryell and was ushered into the international jazz scene in the Seventies as a member of Two Generations of Brubeck and The New Brubeck Quartet (Dave, Darius, Chris and Dan Brubeck) under his father’s leadership. He moved to South Africa in 1983, where he initiated the first degree course in Jazz Studies offered by an African university, eventually founding the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal where, as Professor of Jazz Studies, he taught until 2005. He has also served as a Fulbright visiting professor in Romania and Turkey.
In South Africa, Darius Brubeck and Afro Cool Concept, which featured some of the country’s premier musicians, played throughout southern Africa, Europe, and the USA. Brubeck also led other groups – representing his university and South Africa – and gave workshops and concerts in Europe and the UK, Turkey, Peru, Thailand and the USA. Using the band name, Gathering Forces for ‘world-music’ oriented concerts, Brubeck collaborated with virtuoso bansuri player, Deepak Ram.
Moving to the United Kingdom in 2006, Darius now leads the London based Darius Brubeck Quartet, which has become a successful and popular group in the UK and beyond. Since 2010 he has also toured with Brubecks Play Brubeck, appearing annually at Ronnie Scott’s.
In addition to writing for his own bands, Darius has composed and arranged across a range of styles from string trio to full orchestra. Concerts ,in the Nineties and subsequently, with the London Symphony Orchestra celebrating his father’s birthdays featured his orchestral arrangements. The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra commissioned Darius and Zim Ngqawana, to set extracts from speeches by Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu to music. These were read by Morgan Freeman with music performed by Wynton Marsalis and the LCJO at the New York premiere in 2004. In 2005, the Rockefeller Foundation awarded him a residency as a composer at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Italy. One of his pieces, ‘For Lydia’ was selected for the 2013-2014 Grade 5 Piano Syllabus by the Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music.
The Darius Brubeck Quartet began 2015 with the launch of the favorably reviewed “Cathy’s Summer”. Throughout the year, especially last summer, the Quartet played in many parts of the United Kingdom, including some important jazz festivals like Marlborough, Scarborough and Cork. Their appearance at the Edinburgh Festival was broadcast live on BBC 3 and they also headlined at the Saarbrucken Jazz Festival in Germany. The repertoire embraces South African jazz, jazz standards, Dave Brubeck hits and primarily Darius’ own compositions. The Darius Brubeck Quartet’s latest CD, recorded in 2016, is called “Years Ago”.
Darius and his wife/manager Catherine return to South Africa every year where he retains an honorary research professor status at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and they are writing a book about their jazz life in South Africa.
‘Darius, the eldest [of Dave Brubeck’s sons] and most visually like his father, plays stylish piano and knows the score.’ Jack Massarik, Evening Standard
You Tube Video of Darius Brubeck Quartet - Mamazala - Tue 23 July 2013 - The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh