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Wilton jazz great Brubeck inducted into state Hall of Fame

Dave Brubeck's aughter, Catherine Brubeck Yaghsizian (left) poses with state Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) of Wilton in Hartford.
Dave Brubeck’s aughter, Catherine Brubeck Yaghsizian (left) poses with state Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) of Wilton in Hartford.

HARTFORD, Conn. – Longtime Wilton resident and world-renowned jazz musician and composer Dave Brubeck was among a group of Connecticut residents inducted Monday into the Connecticut Hall of Fame at the state Capitol. His daughter, Catherine Brubeck Yaghsizian, accepted the award on behalf of the Brubeck family.

In a prepared statement, Yaghsizian said her family, originally from California, loved Connecticut’s rolling hills and countryside, and, in 1960, made Wilton their home.

Following his military service in World War II, Brubeck toured with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan. He performed for eight presidents, several heads of state and Pope Paul II. In 1959, Brubeck released “Time Out,” the first jazz album to sell more than one million copies. The album included the iconic “Take Five,” written by saxophone great Paul Desmond, which charted in the Top 40 as a single.

Among his many awards and recognitions, Brubeck received the National Medal of the Arts from President Clinton, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Smithsonian Medal, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was made a Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Honoree. He passed away in December 2012, just before his 92nd birthday.

“We were so fortunate that Wilton was home to Dave and Iola and Dave’s great musical genius for so long,” said Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143), a near neighbor of the Brubecks for several years. Lavielle attended the ceremony.

“And the tradition lives on with the Brubeck family, whose musical gifts, generosity, and easy graciousness continue to give all of us so much joy. I’m proud to know them, and very pleased that the State of Connecticut has recognized Dave’s lifetime record of achievements,” she said.

Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) was also a neighbor of Brubeck.

“For all of this, Dave Brubeck remained a humble, warm, easygoing man whose ready smileand sense of humor put everyone at ease. His love of his wife, Iola – his family, his church and Wilton was keenly felt by all that knew him,” she said.

Other honorees included Stephen Sondheim, Judge John T. Downey, Frederick Law Olmsted, Frederick Rentschler, and Judge Constance Baker Motley.

The Hall of Fame honors individuals from Connecticut who have distinguished themselves in their professions, whether nationally or internationally. Located in the second-floor atrium of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, it helps the many visitors to the Capitol learn more about the people whose notable talents and abilities have made their mark on Connecticut’s history.

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