The heart of the Dave Brubeck Quartet--which lasted from about 1951 to 1967--was really the amazing duo of Brubeck and Paul Desmond, plus a couple of guys on rhythm. In fact, there were several people sitting in the bass and drum chairs before Joe Morello and Eugene Wright signed on, making the final (and some say "classic") iteration of the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
In addition to the personnel changes over the years, there were changes in the type and style of the music they played as well. In the early days the repertoire was mostly standards. But by the time the mega-hit "Time Out" was released, the Quartet had gone from a book of standards recorded live to mostly Brubeck compositions recorded in the studio.
The first of those studio recording was in 1955--a good four years after their meteoric rise in popularity among young jazz fans. The reason for the delay was that Brubeck had resisted making records in the studio, fearing the group would never swing in private the way it did in public.
I some senses, Dave was right. For though the quartet always make wonderful music, the early recordings are by far some of the juiciest.
Nowhere is this more evident than on the "Jazz at college" recordings--particularly Oberlin and College of the pacific.
But those recordings suffer from the cavernous acoustics of the concert hall.
"Jazz Red Hot and Cool" is different: it belongs to the same period, but it was recorded in the more intimate setting of a night club. As a result, the sound quality is much better--more up-close and personal. No, it doesn't sound as perfect as a studio recording--but it's miles better than anything from the same period done in a concert hall.
The tunes are mostly standards, and the style is more cool than red-hot. But what cool! Some criticize this type of music and being too "cerebral" and somehow "aloof." I'll grant the cerebral part. Brubeck and Desmond, like Duke, Parker, and Mingus, had musical imaginations that drew inspiration from many sources--not just the blues and Louis--and much of what they played came form wellsprings of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic understanding we mortals an only dimly perceive.
But aloof it's not. Every track has the sense of musicians who know each other well, guys who--to paraphrase Robert Frost" swing together, whether together or apart." More than highly recommended one of the truly timeless recordings.
2. Little Girl Blue
3. Fare Thee Well, Annabelle
4. Sometimes I'm Happy
5. The Duke
6. (Back Home Again In) Indiana
7. Love Walked In
8. Taking a Chance on Love
9. Closing Time Blues
Dave Brubeck - Piano
Paul Desmond - Alto Sax
Bob Bates - Bass
Joe Dodge - Drums
Originally recorded at Basin Street in NYC October 1954, July 23, and August 9, 1955. On the Columbia Label as an LP. This is the current
CD issue on Columbia Legacy Label.
This CD has been test played to ensure you get what you pay for. No surprises here.
All come with jewel case, liner booklet and the CD disc itself.
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