Pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, who led the West Coast school of cool jazz and recorded “Time Out,” one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time, with its hits “Blue Ronda a la Turk” and “Take Five,” died on Dec. 5–one day shy of his 92nd birthday.

The pianist died of heart failure after being stricken while on his way to a cardiology appointment in Norwalk, Conn., with his son Darius, his manager and conductor Russell Gloyd told the Associated Press. Brubeck lived in Wilton, Conn.

With drummer Joe Morello and bassist Eugene Wright, Brubeck and Paul Desmond recorded the 1959 “Time Out.” It was one of the few jazz albums to cross over to the Billboard pop charts, with Desmond’s “Take Five” (the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1996) in 5/4 time and Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo a la Turk” in 9/8 time, a pattern he heard on the streets of Istanbul during a State Department tour. To date, the album has sold over 2 million copies.

Brubeck was also a respected composer of orchestral and sacred music. He wrote soundtracks for television shows such as “Mr. Broadway” and the animated mini-series “This is America, Charlie Brown.”

He began experimenting with polytonal and polyrhythmic signatures in the 1940s, combining his classical training and improvisational skills. His style ranged from cool to a strong percussive flow.

“I was using a lot of wild things in polytonality, playing in two keys at once,” Brubeck told NPR in 1999. It was this constant experimentation that inspired the young, adventurous pianist Cecil Taylor.

David Warren Brubeck was born Dec. 6, 1920, in Concord, Calif., and grew up in Ione, Calif., where his father, Peter Brubeck, managed a 45,000-acre cattle ranch and owned 1,200 acres of his own. His mother, Elizabeth, was a piano instructor and choir director.

Brubeck did not intend to become a musician–his two older brothers, Henry and Howard, were already on that track–but took lessons from his mother. He could not read sheet music during these early lessons, attributing this difficulty to poor eyesight.

Deciding to work with his father on their ranch, Brubeck entered the College of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. (now the University of the Pacific), studying veterinary science, but quickly transferred to music. It was there he met Iola Whitlock, who became his wife in 1942.

After graduating the same year, Brubeck enlisted in the Army and played in the band, where he met Desmond in 1943.

After the Army, the Brubecks moved to Oakland, Calif., and he attended Mills College, studying under the French composer Darius Milhaud. He later started a trio with Cal Tjader and Ron Crotty.

In 1949, Coronet Records signed Brubeck. The Weiss brothers, Max and Sol, eventually took over the label and renamed it Fantasy Records.

Following a swimming accident in Hawaii, Brubeck organized the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1951, expanding his trio with Desmond on alto saxophone. They took up residency at San Francisco’s Black Hawk nightclub. By the end of the engagement, Brubeck and Desmond had become the intuitive dynamic duo.

The group gained popularity, touring college campuses and recording albums like “Jazz at Oberlin” (1953), “Jazz at the College of the Pacific” (1953) and Brubeck’s debut on Columbia Records, “Jazz Goes to College” (1954). The college tours were Iola’s brainchild.

In 1954, he was featured on the cover of Time, the second jazz musician to be so honored–the first was Louis Armstrong, Feb. 21, 1949. Brubeck personally considered Duke Ellington more deserving and was convinced he had been favored for being Caucasian.

In 1956, Brubeck hired drummer Joe Morello, and in 1958, he integrated the group with bassist Eugene Wright, touring Europe and Asia for the U.S. Department of State.

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Brubeck canceled several concerts because the club owners or hall managers continued to resist the idea of an integrated band on their stages. He also canceled a television appearance when he found out the producers intended to keep Wright off-camera, and he refused a tour of South Africa in 1958.

In 1960, the Brubecks and their children moved to Wilton, Conn. Later, Brubeck and Iola developed a jazz musical, “The Real Ambassadors,” based on experiences during foreign tours for the State Department. The soundtrack’s album, which featured Armstrong, Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, and Carmen McRae was recorded in 1961; the musical was performed only once at the 1962 Monterey Jazz Festival.

Brubeck’s disbanding of the quartet at the end of 1967 allowed him more time to compose and to be with his family.

February 1968 saw the premiere of “The Light in the Wilderness” with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Erich Kunzel with and Brubeck improvising on certain themes within. The piece is an oratorio on Jesus’ teachings. The next year, Brubeck produced “The Gates of Justice,” a cantata mixing Biblical scripture with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Five of Brubeck’s six children have been professional musicians. Darius, the eldest, is a pianist, producer and educator. Dan is a percussionist, Chris is a multi-instrumentalist and composer. Matthew, the youngest, is a cellist with an extensive list of composing and performance credits. Another son, Michael, who died in 2009, was a saxophonist. Brubeck’s children often joined him in concerts and in the recording studio.

In 1996, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1999, he was awarded the NEA Jazz Master from the Endowment for the Arts.

Brubeck founded the Brubeck Institute with Iola at their alma mater, the University of the Pacific, in 2000. In addition to his other sons and his daughter, Brubeck is survived by his wife; 10 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.