Legendary stars of the West Coast jazz scene in the 1950s and 60s, The Dave Brubeck Quartet broke new ground with their experimental time signatures and free form styles but became one of the most accessible and popular acts of the era. Born on December 6, 1920, Brubeck grew up on a 45,000 acre ranch in Concord, California and started out playing piano in local dance bands as a teenager, before being drafted into the army during World War 2, where he spent most of his time entertaining the troops in various jazz bands. Upon his return he formed the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1951 with saxophonist Paul Desmond and their reputation grew with a residency at the San Francisco's Blackhawk Night Club. They were featured on the cover of Time magazine and classic albums Brubeck Time (1955), Time Out (1959) and Countdown: Time in Outer Space (1962) made them the last big jazz act able to compete with the new rock'n'roll stars. Their work became more orchestral in the late 1960s and incorporated passages from The Bible and speeches by Martin Luther King, but Desmond died in 1977 and the line-up suffered from the numerous changes that followed. Brubeck continued to perform and record and was presented with the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and with an award from the Kennedy Center Honors by President Barack Obama in 2009. He died on 5th December 2012 aged 92.