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Jazz at the College of the Pacific, Vol.2

Jazz at the College of the Pacific, Vol.2  - Album cover

Label: Fantasy
Year: 1953
Released on LP: No
Released on CD: Yes


1. Crazy Rhythm
2. Let's Fall in Love
3. Stardust
4. How High the Moon
5. The Way You Look Tonight
6. Love Walked In
7. Give a Little Whistle
8. I Found a New Baby


Dave Brubeck (piano)
Paul Desmond (alto sax)
Joe Dodge (drums)
Ron Crotty (bass)


1. These tracks were recorded in December 1953 as part of the original " Jazz At The College Of The Pacific" recording but never released.

2. They were released on CD in 2002.

3. The CD contains a bonus track that finds an unaccompanied Dave Brubeck performing "I Found a New Baby" at the same college in 1942. This is the earliest Brubeck recording ever released.


Concord Music Group - Copyright

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.

All About Jazz - Review

Before he took a predilection with odd time signatures to the bank, Dave Brubeck worked the college circuit, playing to packed audiences at places such as The College of the Pacific. Even at this early stage Brubeck showed a fascination with rhythmic invention which, when coupled with Paul Desmond’s feathery alto, produced an entirely listenable sound. Brubeck had not yet gained confidence as a composer, and thus the entire program consists of standards. However, Brubeck and company were always more exuberant in the live setting, and those only familiar with Take Five may be surprised at how the quartet virtually plows through these tunes.

Joe Dodge in particular always fired up the kit live, dropping bombs in an obvious attempt to get the crowd going. Since many of these performances run over seven minutes, Desmond gets plenty of solo time, really digging into the changes while showing a sense of humor by injecting quotes from “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” into “Love Walked In”. At this point in time Brubeck was playing more rhythmically and forcefully than he ever would, and his Tatum meets Rachmaninoff style shows the origins of the exploratory work he would pursue later on.

As the title shows, this is a sequel to a previous release, but is no less worthy (and actually a bit longer) than the original. Despite some minor recording flaws, this is prime early Brubeck and a real find.

David Rickert Published: December 3 ,2002
© Copyright All About Jazz

All Music Guide – Review – copyright

In the '50s, Dave Brubeck managed to accomplish something that few post-World War II jazzmen accomplished: He enjoyed a certain amount of acceptance in the pop market. And the interesting thing is that he did it without taking a pop approach -- the pianist played instrumental jazz interpretations of pop songs, but he didn't play pop versions of pop songs.

This 2002 release takes listeners back to a time when Brubeck was at the height of his popularity; recorded live on December 14, 1953, most of these previously unreleased performances are from the same concert that gave listeners the first Jazz at the College of the Pacific. Brubeck's quartet includes alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, bassist Ron Crotty, and drummer Joe Dodge, and this lineup is the essence of cool jazz. Essentially, cool jazz was a form of bebop; Brubeck's cohesive group is definitely playing bop changes on lyrical performances of "How High the Moon," "Love Walked In," and other standards. But they play them in a subtle, relaxed, understated fashion, and that use of subtlety is what makes Vol. 2 cool jazz.

Brubeck and Desmond (who always had a gorgeous tone) both swing, but not in an aggressive, intense way -- they were introspective players who realized the value of restraint. In addition to the 1953 performances, this CD contains a bonus track that finds an unaccompanied Brubeck performing "I Found a New Baby" at the same Stockton, CA, college in 1942. At that point, he was still playing swing piano and had yet to become distinctive or recognizable; even so, it's fascinating to hear what he sounded like before becoming well-known. Although not essential, this is a pleasing disc that serious Brubeck devotees will enjoy.

Alex Henderson

© Copyright Rovi Corporation

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