Dave Brubeck

The Duke

Composed by Dave Brubeck

Song Review by

“The Duke,” written by Dave Brubeck in the mid-1950s, was originally to be titled “The Duke Meets Darius Milhaud,” to honor one of the titans of jazz and the French composer with whom Brubeck studied at Mills College following World War II. This upbeat work is unusual in that its bass line goes through a twelve tone row within the first eight bars, which adds to the challenge of performing it. Although Brubeck has proven to be one of the most prolific jazz composers during a large part of his career, this landmark composition has long been a staple in his repertoire and recorded numerous times for various labels by the pianist. The best version may be his solo interpretation, which he recorded himself for his Columbia LP Brubeck Plays Brubeck. It has appealed to a number of other jazz musicians, as it has been recorded by Miles Davis, Teddy Wilson, Bob Wilber, Barney Kessel, Clare Fischer, Ran Blake, Phil Woods, Marian McPartland, George Shearing, Joe Pass and even Steve Allen. It is probably ranks second in popularity among Brubeck's compositions just after “In Your Own Sweet Way.”

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Jazz: Red Hot and Cool 1955 Colulmbia 2:46
Brubeck Plays Brubeck 1956 Columbia 2:54
Take Five 1961 Koch
Dave Brubeck's Greatest Hits 1966 Sony Music Distribution
No Image 1974 Atlantic 2:48
Interchanges '54: Featuring Paul Desmond 1991 Columbia 2:47
Time Signatures: A Career Retrospective 1992 Columbia/Legacy 2:48
Premium Best 1999 SME US Latin LLC 6:27
Truth Is Fallen/Brother the Great Spirit Made Us All 2000 Collectables 2:47
Very Best 2000 Sony Music 6:31
Ken Burns Jazz 2000 Sony Music Distribution
In a Dancing Mood 2001 Magnum (UK)
Take Five [German Box Set] 2002 Sony Music Distribution 2:54
Ballads: Music for You 2002 Legacy / Columbia/Legacy 2:54
Collection/Dave Brubeck/Quartet 2002 Sony Music Distribution
The Essential Dave Brubeck 2003 Columbia / Legacy 2:45
Jazz Moods: Cool 2004 Legacy / Columbia/Legacy 2:42
Flamingo 2004 Midnite Jazz & Blues
Take Five [Quadromania] 2005 Quadromania Klassik 2:45
The Dave Brubeck Collection 2005 Music & Melody 2:45
Supreme Jazz 2006 Membran/Supreme Jazz
Rondo 2006 Castle Music Ltd.
Essential Collection 2007 West End Records / Avid 2:55
Jazz Profiles 2007 Commercial Canada / Columbia / Sony/Columbia 2:46
Classic Album Collection 2008 Golden Stars 2:54
Only the Best of Dave Brubeck 2008 Collectables 2:47
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Cristal 2:55
Legacy of a Legend 2010 Columbia / Legacy 2:54
The Music of America: Inventing Jazz 2011 Masterworks Jazz 7:46
Cool Jazz: Blues in the Dark, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Jazz Collection 6:31
blue highlight denotes editor's pick