During the 1970s, Brubeck led his own groups, played with Don McLean, Larry Coryell and toured the world with Two Generations of Brubeck and The New Brubeck Quartet (Dave, Darius, Chris and Dan Brubeck) as an additional pianist and keyboardist. Several albums were recorded along the way. His focus changed to South Africa in 1983, when he initiated the first degree course in Jazz Studies offered by an African university. He taught at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Durban, South Africa and was later appointed Director of the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, where he remained until 2006. After retirement from full-time teaching he was made a Senior Research Associate of the School of Music.
For 15 years Darius Brubeck and Afro Cool Concept (a band with South Africa’s premier alto saxophonist, Barney Rachabane and drummer Lulu Gontsana) performed all over Southern Africa and beyond. (Bongani Sokhela replaced Victor Ntoni on bass in 1996). The band’s last CD, “Still On My Mind” was released in 2003 on Sheer Sound. Other recordings released by Sheer include “Before It’s Too Late” (2004) and “Tugela Rail and Other Tracks” (2007).
International tours included a series of concerts celebrating 10 years of democracy in South Africa. In 2004 together again with his brothers (Chris and Dan), Darius headlined at the National Arts “Joy of Jazz Festival”, South Africa and directed the South African National Youth Jazz Band at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland.
Beginning in 1988 with “The Jazzanians”, the first mixed-race student band from a South African university, Brubeck formed and led several bands officially representing his university and South Africa, giving workshops and concerts in the UK, Europe, Turkey, Peru, Thailand and the USA, including student-staff ensembles chosen to perform at five International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) conferences in the USA.
Apart from writing for his own bands, Darius’ arrangements and a composition for Dave Brubeck's 80th birthday can be heard on “Dave Brubeck – Live with the LSO” (2000). In 2005, the Rockefeller Foundation awarded Darius a residency as a composer at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Italy. In 2004, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra commissioned a piece by Darius and Zim Ngqawana, setting music to extracts from speeches by Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. These were read by Morgan Freeman at the New York premiere.
Gathering Forces was the name of Darius’ former fusion band in the '70s and early '80s which recorded “Earthrise”. A later version of GF featuring Deepak Ram on bansuri recorded “Gathering Forces 2” and now Darius' new CD label, which released “For Lydia and the Lion” and “Earthrise” in 2008 is called Gathering Forces.
Brubeck is a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Jazz Studies. He taught at Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul in 2007 and will spend a semester at a university in Cluj (Romania) early in 2010. Recent performances include appearances with his ‘rolling reunion band’ of former students and colleagues at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in 2007 and 2008. His current group, The Darius Brubeck Quartet was featured at UK Festivals and top London Jazz Clubs during 2009 and he also played a special concert at Ronnie Scott’s celebrating 50 years of “Time Out”.
Calendar updates, photos, reviews and links can be found at http://www.dariusbrubeck.com.
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