For decades fans of Dave Brubeck have collected unissued recordings collated from various sources – old radio broadcasts, unofficial recordings etc.
The 1994 book “Dave Brubeck: Improvisations and Compositions: The Idea of Cultural Exchange” by Ilse Storbe and Klaus Fischer included a list of all known rare and unissued recording of Dave’s music collated from worldwide fans of Dave Brubeck by Klaus Fischer. The list was extensive. Various sources found on the Internet today detail that fans collections have grown substantially.
I like other fans have collected many of these recordings. On many occasions I presented or posted to Dave and Iola many of the better sounding ones and they were delighted to receive them.
Dave and Iola in an interview with Jeff Tamarkin for Jazz Times in March 2008 expressed their delight in receiving these recording from fans.
In Praise of Collectors
Dave: “We’re always getting [unreleased recordings] that we didn’t know about, things that I had no idea were ever recorded. There are groups of guys that collect these things.”
Iola: “Thank goodness for them. There’s one great one with Gerry Mulligan and Dave.”
Dave: “You forget about it, and then you say, ‘That isn’t bad.’ I can’t believe that I played that well!”
One such avid fan is Doug Anderson from America. Doug, a student of Brubeck's “Classic Quartet” time period was privileged as detailed in his own words below to hear some very rare, unreleased recordings of the Classic Quartet at the Library of Congress, in Washington, DC. Doug penned a review of these concerts, akin to writing liner notes for an album release and also produced some wonderful "cover art" in in the process.
Doug's reviews and cover art are detailed below.
The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., holds the largest public collection of sound recordings in the United States -- nearly three million in all -- which include audio artefacts gathered from over a century. Among other treasures, the vast holdings of the Recorded Sound Research Center at the Library include more than 50,000 tapes and discs of musical event broadcasts by the Voice of America (VOA) dating from 1946, hundreds of early mobile recordings by legendary West Coast sound engineer Wally Heider, and other radio and television collections. Over the past year, I have worked my way through relevant portions of their holdings, helping to flag items for digital conservation. It turns out that a number of those aging reels contain tremendous live performances by the Dave Brubeck Quartet that cannot be heard anywhere else.
The recordings detailed on this website are intended to highlight some of the most musically and historically significant DBQ items in that collection, as an aperitif and a map to any musical pilgrims who may want to make their own listening trip to the Madison Building in Washington. More distant or casual fans can still enjoy them as tantalizing, brief reviews of albums that never were.
But my not-so-secret hope is that, if the Brubeck estate and any other rights holders sense sufficient interest, they may decide to make these wonderful recordings publicly available for purchase. The advent of digital download services have dramatically reduced the costs of preparing a commercial release, as compared to producing CDs and other physical media. I expect that I am not the only fan who would jump at the chance to add these distinctive performances to my collection.
The recordings discussed in this website are available for on-site listening (by appointment) at the Recorded Sound Research Center (LM 113 Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave, SE, Washington, DC), to anyone who has obtained a free Reader Identification Card. The approximate running times in the song listings indicate only the duration of the music, and do not account for the applause, announcements, cross-talk between Quartet members, ambient sounds, and other moments of “you are there” authenticity that make time-travel via audio recordings such a beguiling pastime.
Finally, I want to express my thanks to the staff of the Recorded Sound division of the Library of Congress, especially Reference Librarian Bryan Cornell, for their assistance in transporting the incomparable improvisations of the classic Brubeck Quartet safely across nearly six decades of time, to my grateful, waiting ears.
Select a thumbnail below to view recording information.