Dave Brubeck enjoyed an accomplished career as a composer and performer for more than six decades. Though best known as a jazz musician, his training and body of work encompassed far more. This oral history, in which he is joined by his wife Iola Brubeck, focuses on The Gates of Justice, an oratorio they composed in 1968-9 on commission from the United American Hebrew Congregations. But it also encompasses other key periods of Brubeck’s life: growing up on a ranch in rural California, his studies and lifelong relationship with Darius Milhaud, world travels as a "jazz ambassador," and experiences confronting racial segregation in the American South. Interview by Eugenia Zukerman.

Part One: Covers Brubeck's experience in World War II, confronting segregation and touring American colleges, the commissioning of The Gates of Justice, his initial studies with Darius Milhaud, and the central meanings behind The Gates of Justice.

Part Two: Discusses the role of religion in his family life, touring the perimeter of the Iron Curtain, the use of jazz in The Gates of Justice, the symbolism of the cantor and baritone, musical quotations of The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, etc.; one Jewish student's experience performing The Gates of Justice is recalled.

Part Three: Discussion of the architecture of The Gates of Justice, modal qualities, polyrhythms, polytonality, and further experiences with Darius Milhaud.

Note: This recording has been lightly edited to enhance public access.

Date: September 23, 2003

Credit: Milken Family Foundation

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