Asked why Brubeck resonates so strongly with area jazz fans, Ashman noted, "Brubeck was local (he lived in Wilton) and was the Beethoven of his time. He said things in the right way and had a different sound. His music is timeless. His hit `Take Five" is like Beethoven's 5th, it's so recognizable."
"President Obama said, `You can't understand America without understanding jazz' ... and you can't understand jazz if you don't understand Brubeck," according to Torff. "He meant a lot to this community. In Brubeck's heyday, the '50s and '60s, he was one of the biggest acts in America, especially on college campuses."
Coincidentally, Torff will play the Newport Jazz Festival in August and is on the same bill with Brubeck's sons, who pay tribute to their father's legacy through their own performances of his music.