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Here is Dave Brubeck near the beginning–and in one historic, unprecedented instance before the beginning–of one the most illustrious careers in all of American music. The pianist-composer’s quartet, featuring longtime partner Paul Desmond on alto saxophone, is captured live at College of the Pacific (now known as University of the Pacific), Stockton, California, Brubeck’s alma mater. (He was among the earliest jazz players to reach the post-war campus crowd.) The concert, which took place eight days after Brubeck’s 33rd birthday, finds the group displaying the blithely swinging polytonality and classically-influenced counterpoint that helped place them at the head of the West Coast Jazz class.

Performing an all-standards repertoire, Brubeck and Desmond, backed by bassist Ron Crotty and drummer Joe Dodge, weave fresh, fugal lines, as on the theme statement of "The Way You Look Tonight" and in interweaving segments during the latter parts of "Love Walked In" and "Give a Little Whistle." And Desmond’s meadowlark sound is especially captivating on one of the all-time beautiful readings of "Stardust." Also included herein is a snippet of solo Brubeck, c. 1942, practicing "I Found a New Baby" in one of College of the Pacific’s rehearsal rooms. Twelve years later, Brubeck’s face would make the cover of Time. An improvising musician had never before received such an honor.


from Balcony Rock ~ The Complete College Concerts, released April 4, 2021
Dave Brubeck - piano
Paul Desmond - alto saxophone
Ron Crotty - bass
Joe Dodge - drums


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