Richest CelebritiesRock Stars
Net Worth:
$15 Million
Dec 6, 1920 - Dec 5, 2012 (91 years old)
Bandleader, Composer, Jazz Pianist, Musician, Film Score Composer
United States of America
💰 Compare Dave Brubeck's Net Worth

What was Dave Brubeck's Net Worth?

Dave Brubeck was an American jazz pianist and composer who had a net worth of $15 million at the time of his death in 2012. Dave Bruebeck is considered to be one of the pioneers of the cool jazz genre. He was well-known for using unusual time signatures in his music and contrasting rhythms, which can be heard on his most popular album, "Time Out."

He released many albums with the Dave Brubeck Quartet throughout the 1950s and 1960s and traveled the world on behalf of the U.S. Department of State to play jazz music in Europe and Asia. Some of his many awards include the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and gracing the cover of "Time" magazine in 1954. He wrote many jazz standards including "The Duke" and "In Your Own Sweet Way". His best known piece of music was "Take Five" with the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

Brubeck was recognized with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, BBC Jazz Lifetime Achievement Award, Kennedy Center Honor, and he was inducted into the California Hall of Fame. Dave Brubeck passed away on December 5, 2012, one day before his 92nd birthday from heart failure.

Early Life

Dave Brubeck was born on December 6, 1920 in Concord, California to parents Peter and Elizabeth Brubeck. His father was a cattle rancher while his mother taught piano lessons. Brubeck took piano lessons from his mother from a young age, though he could not read music during his early lessons as he suffered from poor eyesight. For a long time, his inability to read music mostly went unnoticed as he had a natural ability in playing music. Brubeck planned to work with his father on their ranch as a vet. He began his studies at College of the Pacific in Stockton, California in 1938 to study veterinary science. However, it became clear over time that he was much more interested in music and eventually switched his major to music. He was almost expelled from the school after it was discovered that he was unable to sight-read music. However, a number of professors came to his defense, arguing that he had strong abilities in counterpoint and harmony. He was allowed to complete his degree but had to promise that he would never teach piano.

After finishing his music degree in 1942, Brubeck was drafted into the United States Army. He served in Europe in the Third Army under George S. Patton. When he volunteered to play piano at a Red Cross show, his impressive musical ability was discovered and he was spared from combat service. Brubeck then created the U.S. military's first racially integrated bands called The Wolfpack. It was then that Brubeck met Paul Desmond, another musician. After serving four years in the army, Brubeck returned to California to study at Mills College as a graduate student. It was during this time that he started working with Jack Sheedy and the Weiss brothers, who had their own record company, Fantasy Records.


Brubeck recorded his first records on Fantasy Records in the late 1940s. They sold well. In 1951, Brubeck organized the Dave Brubeck Quartet along with Paul Desmond, whom he had met while in the military. They recorded a series of live albums including "Jazz at the College of the Pacific" and "Jazz at Oberlin" which were some of the earliest examples of cool jazz.

Brubeck signed with Columbia Records and released "Jazz Goes to College" in 1954. It became quite popular and helped Brubeck land the cover of "Time" magazine in November of that year. Over the next few years, the Dave Brubeck Quartet became more and more popular. In 1958, African-American bassist Eugene Wright joined the band just before the group's Department of State tour of Europe and Asia. Wright became a permanent part of the group after this and Brubeck was known to cancel shows and appearances if he learned that promoters or producers did not want Wright to appear onscreen or onstage due to him being black. Brubeck consistently tried to level the playing field for black jazz musicians. He felt some of his success was unwarranted, considering there were many equally or more talented black musicians who did not receive the recognition they deserved.

Dave Brubeck


In 1959, the band released "Time Out." The album went on to become Brubeck's highest-selling album. He continued releasing albums throughout the 1960s. At its peak during the early 1960s, the Brubeck Quartet was releasing as many as four albums per year. Their final studio album for Columbia Records was "Anything Goes" in 1966. During Brubeck's later career, he released music with Atlantic Records. His later albums would not achieve the success of his early music, but he was still very much considered a musical genius and one of the pioneering figures in popularizing jazz music.

Over the course of his career, Brubeck received many awards and accolades. In the 1990s, he received the National Medal of Arts form the National Endowment for the Arts, was inducted into the DownBeat Hall of Fame, and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2004, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Sacred Theology degree from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. He was awarded the BBC Jazz Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 and the Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy in 2008. He was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2009. In 2011, he was an honorary fellow of Westminster Choir College at Princeton University.

Personal Life and Death

In September 1942, Brubeck married jazz lyricist Iola Whitlock. They remained married for 70 years until Brubeck's death in 2012. During their marriage, they had six children together. Four of them became professional musicians and often joined their faither in concerts and in the recording studio.

In 1980, Brubeck became a Catholic. Prior to that time, he had been spiritual but had not been formally a member of a church. In 2006, he was awarded the University of Notre Dame's Laetare Medal, the most prestigious honor given to American Catholics, during the university's commencement.

Brubeck died of heart failure on December 5, 2012 in Norwalk, Connecticut, one day before his 92nd birthday. At the time, he was one his way to a doctor's appointment. A birthday party had been planned for him the following day which was going to be attended by friends and various famous guests. A memorial tribute for Brubeck was held in May 2013. He is interred at Umpawaug Cemetery in Redding, Connecticut.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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