Dave Brubeck’s post-op concert

Fans throughout the country were saddened to learn of the death of beloved jazz composer, pianist and Connecticut resident Dave Brubeck. He was 91, and was renowned for his musical accomplishments.

But one of his lesser known performances was given in October 2010 in the lobby of Bridgeport Hospital, where Brubeck underwent pacemaker surgery. After about a week at the hospital, he was discharged and, on his way out the door, he spotted a piano in the hospital lobby.

David Antignani, chief and senior administrative physician assistant in cardiac surgery at Bridgeport Hospital, remembered Brubeck being elated at the sight of the instrument. “His eyes lit up,” Antignani said. Brubeck eventually gave an impromptu concert on the piano. He played “Thank You,” one of his originals, and the traditional favorite “Home, Sweet Home,” with employees singing along.

Antignani remembered the concert as an amazing experience. He was a longtime fan of Brubeck, who had started listening to his music when he was a teenager. Antignani said he had a few encounters with Brubeck while he was a patient, and was impressed with his demeanor. “I thought he was a very humble man — very down to earth,” Antignani said. “You could tell he was dedicated to his craft and to his music.”

Such was his dedication, that Brubeck actually had someone bring a keyboard into his hospital room. “He said ‘I have to keep practicing. I have concerts to do,'” Antignani remembered.

Amanda Cuda