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Rediscovering Dave Brubeck
Rediscovering Dave Brubeck
Rediscovering Dave Brubeck
Rediscovering Dave Brubeck
Rediscovering Dave Brubeck

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Michael Brubeck

Picture of Dave Brubeck riding a horse

I've given up the things of youth, like toys and dolls and trains
And traded them for others, like work and aches and pains.

Poem by Michael Brubeck

Michael Brubeck is the second son of Dave and Iola. He is special to them and the rest of the family because, as a child he suffered from a mysterious and serious learning disability. When Michael was born in 1949, doctors noticed he was suffering from jaundice, and kept him in isolation. What they did not notice was his blood type was incompatible with his mother. In those days there was little known about the Rh factor of blood types. The trauma that Michael experienced then may have been the root of his disability.

He grew up a normal, healthy baby. His IQ testing was very high - the highest of all the Brubeck kids before pre-school according to Dave. Like the rest of the clan, Michael exhibited a love of music and took saxophone lessons. But formal education exposed his developmental problems and some teachers were unsympathetic. Michael became withdrawn.

His family rallied behind him. As did Brubeck Quartet members Joe Morello, Eugene Wright and Paul Desmond. Michael had an intense bond with the musicians, as they were often practicing in the Brubeck home. In 1958 he accompanied the Quartet on their tour behind the Iron Curtain. He was particularly close to Desmond - so close that when Paul died, he willed his saxophone to Michael. It remains one of his most important treasures.

Michael struggled but graduated high school. One of his poems was published in a national magazine and he received an award for his literary work. As an adult, Michael continued to write. His poem, Once When I Was Very Young, was set to music by Dave and appears on the MusicMasters album. It has also been a sung by the Gregg Smith Singers.

Today, Michael lives near his parents in Connecticut with Brubeck's assistant George Moore. George is a trained therapist who assists Michael in dealing with the challenges of daily life. Michael has overcome a great deal and is the only Brubeck to continue a time-honored family tradition. Like his father and grandfather before him, he loves riding and training horses.

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Picture of Dave Brubeck riding a horse
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