Dave Brubeck

The Definitive Dave Brubeck on Fantasy, Concord Jazz and Telarc

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

There is no denying that Dave Brubeck's hit sides for Columbia permanently established him in the popular jazz consciousness, but that's also a limiting factor: he cut great music before and after his tenure there. The Definitive Dave Brubeck, a double-disc, 26-track collection issued just in time to celebrate the pianist's 90th birthday and to coincide with the documentary film Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Time (whose executive producer is Clint Eastwood), fills in key points in the rest of the story. (Sony/Legacy has simultaneously issued a Brubeck-curated double disc entitled Legacy of a Legend that covers the Columbia period between 1954 and 1970.) This compilation was assembled by Russell Gloyd, Brubeck's manager, producer, and conductor since 1976. Disc one contains 17 tracks recorded between 1942 (the year the historic Jazz at the College of the Pacific was cut for Fantasy Records) and 1953 (when Jazz at Oberlin was released). These were the years that Brubeck's early trio (with Ron Crotty and Cal Tjader) and his original duets with Paul Desmond, and finally the quartet, began to make their mark on the West Coast. There are also solo piano tunes ("My Romance") and even one from the Dave Brubeck Octet recording ("The Way You Look Tonight"). Numerous cuts were chosen from the Dave Brubeck Trio's Distinctive Rhythm Instrumentals and Brubeck & Desmond: Jazz at Storyville. The nine selections on disc two begin in 1982 with "Koto Song," from the live Concord on a Summer Night, and end in 2004 with "Forty Days" from the London Flat, London Sharp set, with cuts along the way from the albums Moscow Night (1987), Young Lions & Old Tigers (1995), Just You, Just Me (1994), So What's New? (2000), and The Crossing (2000). There isn't anything here that is previously unreleased, so hardcore fans will more than likely already possess the material. That said, for anyone only familiar with the Columbia recordings, or seeking an introduction to Brubeck, this collection is a worthwhile consideration.

blue highlight denotes track pick