The 2012 single-disc collection The Very Best of Dave Brubeck collects tracks the legendary pianist recorded for the Fantasy label from 1949 to 1953. These cuts feature Brubeck in his trio and quartet settings, often alongside saxophonist Paul Desmond. Of course, this is the Brubeck group a few years before recording his breakthrough 1959 song, "Take Five." However, these are stellar cool jazz sides that reveal much of Brubeck's talent for reworking standards, sometimes with a classical influence. Included here are such studio recordings as "Blue Moon," "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," "Me and My Shadow," and others. Also featured are several live cuts, including "Stardust" (from the Dave Brubeck Quartet's Jazz at Oberlin) and "This Can't Be Love" (recorded live at the Surf Club). The Very Best of Dave Brubeck is a solid introduction to the pianist's work before his famed late-'50s and '60s albums.
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar