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Dave Brubeck Balcony Rock Jazz Goes To College (Live at Michigan, 1954)

Hot on the heels of “Jazz at Oberlin”, Columbia Records issued a second album of material cut during Brubeck’s Spring 1954 tour of college campuses. His first quartet, with Bob Bates (bass), and Joe Dodge (drums), produced what many consider as the most memorable music in Brubeck’s long discography.

Brubeck TimeFollowing the album’s release, the quartet was featured on the cover of Time magazine, with the accompanying article describing Brubeck as “the most exciting new jazz artist at work today”. Jazz Goes to College was said to have enjoyed popularity among, surprisingly, college students, possibly less so with hepcats in need of something stronger than “a dry Martini”: perhaps too white and too square? Not on drugs, and they call themselves musicians?

It seems there are two schools of thought : those who consider Brubeck’s greatest achievement is his inventive play on time-signatures at the end of the decade, and those more enamoured of this earlier emerging West Coast school of cool. There is of course a third school, who don’t rate Brubeck as a piano player, and an overlapping fourth school, who think this music is really the fruit of the Paul Desmond Quartet and not the Brubeck figure-head at all. There is a fifth school that dismiss West Coast jazz as boring, and there are probably other schools if you think long enough about it. But if you are going to dislike Jazz Goes to College, note, it has to be for the right reasons, otherwise it doesn’t count.


from Balcony Rock ~ The Complete College Concerts, released April 4, 2021
Paul Desmond (as)
Dave Brubeck (p)
Bob Bates (b)
Joe Dodge (d)


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Jason Lee Lazell, the world & jazz buyer for Tower Records (1993-2003) the largest record store in Europe…the critically acclaimed label Moochin’ About has gained admiration from Cerys Matthews,Huey Morgan,Giles Peterson,Jamie Cullum,Stuart Marcone,Johnny Trunk,Robert Elms,Iggy Pop… ... more

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