Dave Brubeck, piano; Paul Desmond, alto saxophone; Ron Crotty, bass; Joe Dodge, drums.
Brubeck and his long time partner Paul Desmond on alto saxophone treated us to nothing but standards at the College of the Pacific, Stockton, California in December 1953. There are some balance problems but it takes nothing away from some superb Jazz playing. It is easy to understand why Brubeck was so popular, and not only with Jazz fans. His music is accessible, interesting and tuneful. There is a feeling of calmness in their playing; perfectly crafted, harmoniously beautiful, also a lightness in the music; a feeling of satisfaction.
Watch out for the wonderful classical opening to "Let's Fall In Love", the perfect intonation and sweet alto playing throughout of Paul Desmond. "Stardust" is ruminated upon lovingly by Desmond's saxophone and explored further by Brubeck, yet we hear not one murmur of the melodic line. "The Way You Look Tonight" has an exciting, intricately blended running start. It is amazing what can be done with tunes like "Give A Little Whistle" when in the hands of Desmond and Brubeck. These two are handsomely backed throughout by Ron Crotty on bass and Joe Dodge on drums. At the end we have a snatch of archive material; a fascinating one minute and thirty four seconds of Brubeck practicing around 1942. His playing abilities are clearly of a very high standard.
by Ferdinand Maylin
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