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Chris Brubeck (Electric Bass, Bass Trombone, Piano, Composer, Arranger)

Born: March 19, 1952 - Los Angeles, California, USA

Christopher (Chris) Brubeck is an American musician and composer, both in jazz and classical music. As a musician, he mainly plays electric bass, bass trombone, and piano. The son of noted jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, in 1972 he joined his father and brothers Darius and Daniel in The New Brubeck Quartet. He later formed The Brubeck Brothers Quartet with his brothers.


During the 1970′s Chris Brubeck began touring and recording with his father, Dave Brubeck. Chris plays bass, trombone, piano, guitar and sings and has earned international acclaim as composer, performer and leader of his own groups. On stage his irrepressible enthusiasm is matched by his fluid command of jazz, blues, folk, funk, pop and classical musical styles.

Chris Brubeck has been touring for about 30 years with guitarist Joel Brown and singer and harmonica virtuoso Peter Madcat Ruth, as Chris Brubeck's Triple Play, which is a jazz band in a swinging Louisiana style. Known as a member of New Heavenly Blue, Chris Brubeck also participated and recorded as a keyboardist/trombonist/guitarist in "Educated Homegrown" in 1970.

In 1999, Chris Brubeck and his brother Daniel Brubeck joined with other musicians to form The Brubeck Brothers Quartet (which had briefly pre-existed with Andy LaVerne for a 1972 album as "The Brubeck-LaVerne Trio"). While they have performed with various other musicians, as of 2006 the quartet includes Mike DeMicco on guitar, Chuck Lamb on piano, Daniel Brubeck on drums, and Chris Brubeck on electric bass and bass trombone. The quartet performs in jazz venues and with symphony orchestras around the world.

Chris Brubeck continues to perform and record with his two groups, The Brubeck Brothers Quartet and Chris Brubeck’s Triple Play. Chris has worked with many diverse artists, including Frederica von Stade, Benjamin Luxon, Dawn Upshaw, Bill Crofut, Meryl Streep, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, Gerry Mulligan, Bela Fleck, Bobby McFerrin, Stephane Grappelli, Bobby Womack, Tower of Power, and Patti Labelle.

Chris Brubeck’s most recent thrills was performing with his brothers, Darius, Dan and Matthew, in an all-star tribute to their father, Dave Brubeck, as part of Washington’s Kennedy Center Awards, which was televised internationally in December, 2009.


Grammy-nominated composer Chris Brubeck continues to distinguish himself as an innovative performer and composer. An award-winning composer, he is clearly tuned into the pulse of contemporary music. Many of his "classical" compositions still contain strong hints of the jazz influence of his father. John von Rhein, music critic for The Chicago Tribune, calls Chris: “a composer with a real flair for lyrical melody–a 21st Century Lenny Bernstein.”

Chris Brubeck has created an impressive body of symphonic work while maintaining a demanding touring and recording schedule with the Brubeck Brothers Quartet (with brother Dan on drums). The BBQ’s second Koch recording, Classified features Chris’s composition for woodwind quintet and the BBQ, Vignettes for Nonet. This innovative fusion of classical and jazz genres is performed with the Grammy-nominated Imani Winds. Reviewing Vignettes, the JazzTimes wrote: “The integration of reeds and jazz quartet is picture-perfect, cinematic in scope and often breathtakingly beautiful.”

In 2003, Chris Brubeck played his first Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague. A year later, he composed his own concerto titled, The Prague Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra.

Chris Brubeck is a much sought-after composer, and in the last few years has been commissioned to write many innovative works. 2013 will see the premiere of two new children’s pieces written by Chris: The Hermitage Cats Save the Day, a Russian-American cooperative project about the cats in the Hermitage Museum and featuring visuals, musicians and actors. In May, Chris’s symphonic work based on the George Selden book The Cricket in Times Square premieres in Washington, DC. Commissioned by the Kennedy Center, it will be performed by the National Symphony Orchestra and guest soloist Nick Kendall, with Steve Reineke conducting. Nick Kendall is also part of the amazing string trio, Time for Three, for which Chris wrote a concerto in March, 2010. That piece, Travels in Time for Three was commissioned by a consortium of 8 orchestras including performances by the Boston Pops Orchestra (in Symphony Hall and in Carnegie Hall), Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Portland Symphony and several others. April, 2009 marked the premiere of Ansel Adams: America, an exciting orchestral piece Chris and Dave Brubeck wrote accompanying 100 of Ansel Adams’ majestic images being projected above the orchestra. The piece was nominated for a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition, and was the last piece Chris and his father collaborated on. Among some of Chris’s other commissions are: Quiet Heroes: A Symphonic Salute to the Flagraisers at Iwo Jima, a moving piece for full orchestra and narrator; Mark Twain’s World: A Symphonic Journey with Genuine Thespians (a genre-breaking piece for orchestra and actors based on the life of Mark Twain) and the exciting Interplay for 3 Violins and Orchestra, with performances by violinists Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg (classical), Eileen Ivers (Irish) and Regina Carter (jazz). Chris’s second Boston Pops Orchestra commission, it was broadcast on PBS Evening at Pops and won Chris an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for best composition for television broadcast.

His compositions have been performed by orchestras all around the world, including the prominent USA orchestras of Boston Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore and National Symphony Orchestra (Washington) as well as the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, and Singapore Chinese Orchestra.

Chris Brubeck’s second symphonic CD, Convergence, on Koch International Classics features the Czech National Symphony Orchestra and is entirely comprised of Chris’s original compositions including Frederica von Stade singing River of Song, together with the title composition, Convergence, a piece commissioned by the Boston Pops Orchestra to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Symphony Hall. The CD also includes Chris performing his second major trombone work, Prague Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra. (His first trombone concerto was recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra on the Koch release, Bach to Brubeck.) Reviewing Convergence, Fanfare Magazine wrote: “Brubeck’s skill both as composer and soloist is extraordinary.” In July, 2006, Chris served as composer-in-residence at the Henry Mancini Institute in Los Angeles, where he also performed his Prague Concerto with the HMI Symphony. The L.A. Times reviewed that performance writing it was “a powerful showcase … from dark-toned intimacy to tear-down-the house exuberance.”


When Chris Brubeck was born, Dave Brubeck wrote for him the composition "Crazy Chris". In 1982, after Chris and his first wife Noreen had their son Ben, Dave Brubeck dedicated to his first grandchild the composition "Benjamin Christopher David Brubeck". Chris Brubeck later remarried his second and current wife, Tish Brubeck (Theresa Wolf Smith Brubeck).

“Chris Brubeck is probably one of the finest performing jazz trombonists around today.” - DownBeat
Chris has become one of the most capable electric bassists, delivering imaginative solos.” - Los Angeles Times

Source: Chris Brubeck Website; Wikipedia Website (March 2014)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2014)

Chris Brubeck: Short Biography | Arrangements/Transcriptions: Works | Recordings of Works for Orchestra

Links to other Sites

Chris Brubeck (Official Website)
Brubeck Brothers (Berkeley Agency)
Chris Brubeck (Wikipedia)
Chris Brubeck - Biography (AMG)

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