Proving that we will – as promised – feature music other than Big Band, we’re going to change genres on this posting and venture into the world of early modern jazz.
In 1960 The Dave Brubeck Quartet – anchored by Dave on piano and featuring Joe Morello on drums, Gene Wright on bass and the incomparable Paul Desmond on Alto Sax – brought jazz to the attention of a much wider audience than anyone thought possible when they made history with their album Time Out, featuring the huge hit, “Take Five”. The album was on the charts for over three years and sold five million copies, but in spite of this success Brubeck’s group was often lightly regarded by the hard core jazz world…probably at least in part because of their popularity. Nothing offends a purist faster than success with the general public. I vividly remember being in college at the time, and wearing out the tune on the jukebox in the school lounge — even though I had the LP at home!
But leaving that aside, we’re going to feature a couple of selections from the early days of Dave Brubeck…when he was searching for the right combination of sidemen and sound, and was involved with a lot of different groups, including not only a quartet but a trio and an octet! This 2 CD set from Proper Records contains a great mix of early Brubeck, including some standard tunes and some that you might never hear anywhere else.
For our posting, we’ve chosen two completely different sounds, although both are old standards. First is “
All The Things You Are,” performed by the quartet — but an earlier version than the more famous 1960 group. This was recorded in 1952, and the quartet included Brubeck and Desmond, but had Wyatt Ruther on bass, and Lloyd Davis on drums.
And then for something really different, “I Hear A Rhapsody,” performed in 1949 by the Dave Brubeck Octet. Musicians included Brubeck of course, and Desmond, and Cal Tjader on drums (years before he became more famous as a bandleader) with five fairly anonymous jazzmen filling out the balance of the octet. A really unusual sound for Brubeck fans.