Dave Brubeck studied with one of my hyperprolific heroes, Darius Milhaud, and named his son Darius. He was at Mills College, in the Bay Area of San Francisco, only for a year, 1946-47, but continued to see the French composer.
Milhaud, français de Provence et de religion israélite, was in exile during the war, but prolonged his American stay and alternated between Mills and Paris until 1971. He encouraged Brubeck to stick with jazz and study fugue and orchestration, but not classical piano. See John Salmon, What Brubeck Got from Milhaud, American Music Teacher, February/March 1992.
Charming clip at Turner Classic Movies (which I don’t know how to embed) from Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way, a film made for Brubeck’s 90th birthday. Bruce Ricker, director and producer. Clint Eastwood, executive producer. “Historian Ashley Kahn adds context as Dave Brubeck, in several interviews, one with wife Iola, remembers his professor and mentor, composer Darius Milhaud.”
It incorporates part of A Visit with Darius Milhaud, a film made by Ralph Swickard in 1955. I like the moment where Milhaud calls to his wife Madeleine (who died in 2008): “I just finished the second movement of the sonatina, do you want to come and try it on the piano?” An utterance as momentous in the Milhaud household as “I finished the washing up, do you want to come and help with the drying?”. It doesn’t sound like the oboe sonatina of around that time.
Alex Ross had an entry about Brubeck and Milhaud a while back.
Here is Milhaud’s jazz-inspired La création du monde, composed after a visit to Harlem in 1922. The premiere was in Paris with the Ballets suédois – a kind of Swedish Ballets russes – which had commissioned it. Set and costumes by Léger. Here with Orchestre National de France under Bernstein. Some people prefer it with a smaller ensemble.