His graduation hinged on a handshake agreement. "There were two conditions," Gloyd said. "One, he promised to never teach music, and two he promised never to return to College of the Pacific."
"He's been back a couple of times, Once was to pick up his honorary doctorate. The other was when the university established the Brubeck Institute."
While at Pacific Mr. Brubeck met Iola Whitlock, and they married soon after his graduation, Mr. Brubeck had already enlisted in the Army and been sent to Europe as an infantry soldier. Brubeck was one day from being sent to the front when a Red Cross troupe came through camp and asked if anyone played piano.
"Dave was sitting on his helmet and raised his hand," said Gloyd. "They decided to give him a try and the base commander heard him play and that was the end of him going to the front." Brubeck was reassigned to form a band, which he did, calling it the Wolfpack Band. Allowed to recruit his own sidemen, Brubeck formed a band of 18 pieces, black and white musicians playing together.
"That is how Dave Brubeck integrated the United States Army, because he brought in black players."
At the end of the war the Wolfpack disbanded and Brubeck came home to pursue his master's degree in music at Mills College, under the G.I. Bill. He didn't last, but was there long enough to come under the influence of composer and faculty member Darius Milhaud.
"Mihlaud encouraged Brubeck to go on the path that he had started, which was to express the musical language of jazz," said David Bernstein, professor of music at Mills. It was in Milhaud's composition class that Brubeck met the musicians who would later form the Dave Brubeck Octet, his first band. Two of the players were recruited from San Francisco State, Paul Desmond on sax and Cal Tjader on drums.
Unable to support that many members, the Octet downsized to a trio, minus Desmond, who had gone to New York. There had been bad blood between them and when he returned he came to the Brubeck home in San Francisco, hat in hand.
As Brubeck later told it: "I was out in the back, hanging up diapers on a clothesline and I turned around and there was Paul Desmond. My first inclination was to throttle him, and then the good things about Paul came back and he said how much he wanted to be with the Quartet and he'd babysit, he'd wash the car, he'd run errands, he'd do anything I asked him to do if he could only be in the group."
Brubeck relented and it was their chemistry that made the quartet.
"It was the immediacy and the improvisational quality of it, and the counterpoint between Brubeck and Paul Desmond that was so interesting," said Conte, who first saw the Quartet during a college tour in 1955, when it played the University of Connecticut, where Conte was a freshman.
Eventually there would be five Brubeck sons and one daughter for Desmond to babysit, with the oldest named Darius after his father's mentor. Brubeck built a big home in the Oakland Hills, where they lived until decamping for Connecticut in the 1960s.
Throughout his touring career, Brubeck worked with black musicians, as he'd done in the Army.
"He fought for civil rights," said the historian Gioia, author of "West Coast Jazz." "At the peak of his fame he had an integrated band. If concert promoters pushed back on it he threatened to cancel the concert."
In 1973, Mr. Brubeck came home from Connecticut to play a farewell concert at the Berkeley Community Theater. But it wasn't his farewell. He played concerts for another 40 years. His last performance was in Montreal last July. His closing number was "Take Five." "He was a class act in every sense of the word," said Gioia. "He had a marriage that lasted 70 years. I don't any celebrity has had a marriage that lasted 70 years."
Survivors include wife Iola, and sons Darius, Chris, Dan, Matthew, and Michael, and a daughter Catherine Yaghsizian. Services are pending.