This LP introduced Paul Desmond's beautiful ballad "Audrey" and found the early Dave Brubeck quartet (with pianist Brubeck, altoist Desmond, bassist Bob Bates, and drummer Joe Dodge) making a rare studio recording; up to this point all of their most popular records were club performances. With fresh versions of such songs as "Jeepers Creepers," "Pennies from Heaven," and "A Fine Romance," this music is certainly worth acquiring.
The 17 selections on this disc represent the earliest recordings by one of the most important and definitive jazz combos in history. These are interesting because Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond on alto sax had established the basic sound long before bassist Gene Wright and drummer Joe Morello would join them for the 'classic quartet' era. One other thing that is interesting is even though recording technology was relatively crude in the very early 1950s the sound quality on this album is more than acceptable.
The 1987 edition of the Brubeck Quartet featured pianist Brubeck, his son Chris on electric bass and bass trombone, clarinetist Bill Smith and drummer Randy Jones. In addition to remakes of "Blue Rondo à la Turk," "Strange Meadowlark" and "Swing Bells," the leader contributed six new originals including "I See, Satie" and a tribute to Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz called "Dizzy's Dream." Bill Smith, who uses electronics with taste on his clarinet during a few songs, has long been a major asset to the later Brubeck Quartets. This is one of their better Concord CDs.
When it comes to the boundary-stretching spirit that has become so widespread among many of today's leading jazz musicians, drummer Mark Guiliana deserves credit for being one of the most enthusiastic embodiments of this attitude. He has a longstanding passion for electronic music, as heard especially on the releases on his own Beat Music label (2014's My Life Starts Now and Beat Music: The Los Angeles Improvisations).
A recording of an historic concert, released for the first time! This 1940 concert was part of a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States. Performing are the legendary Golden Gate Quartet with Josh White, singing Spirituals, Blues and Work Songs. The concert features commentary by Alan Lomax, the poet Sterling Brown, and Alain Locke, the godfather of the Harlem Renaissance. Immediately after this concert, Eleanor Roosevelt engaged White and the Golden Gate to perform at FDR’s inauguration.