1953: Dave Brubeck Quartet Discography

1953 was a banner year for the Brubeck Quartet. Their popularity on college campuses exploded and Brubeck and Desmond were quickly becoming jazz stars. The group recorded two of the best live albums in their voluminous discography. 1953 also saw another personnel change in the band with the exit of bassist Wyatt Ruther and the reappearance of Ron Crotty taking his place. Most significantly, 1953 was the year that Brubeck finally parted ways with Fantasy Records.

Brubeck with Desmond, Ron Crotty on bass, and Lloyd Davis on drums.

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Jazz At Storyville

  • Fantasy 3-8
  • Recorded: 2 October, 1952 & February 1953 at Storyville, Boston, MA
  • Released: 1953

Personnel:

  • Dave Brubeck – Piano
  • Paul Desmond – Alto Sax
  • Ron Crotty – Bass (track 4 only)
  • Lloyd Davis- Drums

Track Listing:

  1. Over The Rainbow – 4:59
  2. You Go To My Head – 7:50
  3. Give A Little Whistle/Oh Lady Be Good – 6:51
  4. Tea For Two – 6:55

Comprised of two separate appearances at Storyville, this album was released as a 10-inch album and pressed on red and green vinyl.  The track “Give A Little Whistle/Oh Lady Be Good” is just “Oh Lady Be Good” with Paul Desmond playing the melody of “Give A Little Whistle” over the chord changes, something he frequently did in the ensuing years.  According to Brubeck, the beginning of “Over The Rainbow” was lost due to bad tape.  This was Desmond’s favorite album out of all of his work with Brubeck.  The last track was tacked on from a second appearance at Storyville the following year and is most-likely sourced from a radio broadcast.


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The Complete Storyville Broadcasts

  • Essential Jazz Classic EJC 55654
  • Recorded:  7 February (Most-likely 3 February), 1953 at Storyville, Boston, MA
  • Released:  2014

Personnel:

  • Dave Brubeck-  Piano
  • Paul Desmond-  Alto Sax
  • Ron Crotty-  Bass
  • Lloyd Davis-  Drums

Track Listing:

CD 3

  1. Love Walked In/I’ll Never Smile Again – 10:22
  2. The Way You Look Tonight – 4:43
  3. These Foolish Things – 5:00
  4. Perdido – 3:48

Part of the 3-CD release by Essential Jazz Classics, this set of music comes from another radio broadcast from Storyville, this time from February of 1953.  John McLellan is the announcer.  “Tea For Two”, from Brubeck’s Storyville on Fantasy, was recorded during this appearance.  SPECIAL NOTE: About the date- The CD gives the date of 7 February, 1953, but that is questionable for a few reasons.  First, John McLellan’s radio show broadcast live from Storyville on Tuesday nights.  7 February was a Saturday, lending credence to the February 3rd date.  Secondly, at the end of the broadcast, McLellan mentions that his guest on his Saturday evening radio show “The Top Shelf” will be Brubeck and Desmond.  It’s unlikely that an erudite radio announcer would plug his upcoming Saturday show on a Saturday without qualifying it by saying “next” Saturday or some other variation on this.  This is more evidence that February 3 is the correct date of this broadcast, not February 7.  Also included on this album are a series of previously unreleased radio broadcasts from February 1952 and previously released material that appeared on Fantasy 3240 as Jazz At Storyville and on Columbia 590 as Dave Brubeck At Storyville:  1954.


Jazz At Oberlin

  • Fantasy 3-11
  • Recorded: 2 March, 1953 at Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH
  • Released:  1953

Personnel:

  • Dave Brubeck-  Piano
  • Paul Desmond-  Alto Sax
  • Ron Crotty-  Bass
  • Lloyd Davis-  Drums

Track Listing:

  1. These Foolish Things – 6:33
  2. The Way You Look Tonight – 8:46
  3. Perdido – 7:51
  4. Stardust – 6:32

Pressed as a 10-inch record on red, green, blue, and purple translucent vinyl, this was Brubeck’s first album featuring material from his ground-breaking college tour.  This has some of Desmond’s best recorded work.
Probably due to space, the track order is different from what the liner notes say.  Dubbed-in applause between “These Foolish Things” and “The Way You Look Tonight” hints at this rearranged track listing.  Later reissued with another track from this concert as Fantasy 3245 under the same title.  SPECIAL NOTE:  This album pressing contains the complete track of “The Way You Look Tonight”.  All other versions of this album used an edited track that omitted Desmond’s first full chorus. 


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Live At The Blue Note, Chicago March 1953

  • Jazz Band EBCD 2140-2
  • Recorded:  4 or 11 March, 1953 at the Blue Note, Chicago, IL
  • Released:  1996

Personnel:

  • Dave Brubeck-  Piano
  • Paul Desmond-  Alto Sax
  • Ron Crotty-  Bass
  • Lloyd Davis-  Drums, Bongos

Track Listing (Brubeck’s Material Only):

  1. Introduction – 0:39
  2. Too Marvelous For Words – 4:05
  3. Spring Is Here – 2:20
  4. How High The Moon (Incomplete) – 3:07
  5. Closing – 0:45
  6. Introduction – 0:34
  7. At A Perfume Counter – 5:07
  8. Stardust – 5:04
  9. The Way You Look Tonight – 4:40

Released in 1996 on CD, this album features features music by the Dave Brubeck Quartet and the Chubby Jackson-Bill Harris Herd on a pair of radio broadcasts live from Chicago’s Blue Note in the early spring of 1953.  Based on the different announcers as well as the different order of performance, it appears that these recordings makeup two separate radio broadcasts from two different dates.  Desmond is in particularly fine form here, especially on “How High The Moon” and “The Way You Look Tonight”.  This CD also contains performances by Woody Herman from the 1940’s.  Brubeck’s material from this CD was released with other material on Essential Jazz Classics EJC 55706 as Jazz At The College of the Pacific:  Complete Edition.


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At Wilshire-Ebell

  • Fantasy 3249/8095 in Stereo
  • Recorded:  20 June, 1953 at the Wilshire-Ebell Theater in Los Angeles, CA
  • Released: 1957

Personnel:

  • Dave Brubeck-  Piano
  • Paul Desmond-  Alto Sax
  • Ron Crotty-  Bass
  • Lloyd Davis-  Drums

Track Listing:

  1. I’ll Never Smile Again – 7:24
  2. Let’s Fall In Love – 4:14
  3. Stardust – 6:17
  4. All The Things You Are – 6:43
  5. Why Do I Love You – 2:37
  6. Too Marvelous For Words – 7:49

Released by Fantasy four years after the music was recorded, this album was pressed as a 12-inch LP on red vinyl and later on blue vinyl as a pseudo-stereo release.  Allegedly released by Fantasy without Brubeck’s permission, Desmond was not happy with this release.  In recent years, this album has been reissued by Fresh Sound Records in 2006 as FSR-CD 426 At Wilshire Ebell and by Poll Winners as 27342 under the same title.


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Untitled, Fantasy 530

  • Fantasy 530
  • Recorded: October 1953 at Bill Bates home, Los Angeles, CA
  • Released: Late 1953

Personnel:

  • Dave Brubeck-  Piano
  • Paul Desmond- Alto Sax (track 2 only)
  • Ron Crotty-  Bass (track 2 only)
  • Lloyd Davis-  Drums (track 2 only)

Track Listing:

  1. My Heart Stood Still
  2. Trolley Song

Initially released as a 10-inch 78rpm disc, these recordings were made at the home studio of Bill Bates.  The first track is a piano solo.  The second side is presumably the Brubeck Quartet’s first complete take of “Trolley Song” in existence.  It features some absolutely searing alto sax by Desmond.


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Jazz At The College of the Pacific

  • Fantasy 3-13
  • Recorded:  14 December, 1953 at the College of the Pacific, Stockton, CA
  • Released:  February 1954

Personnel:

  • Dave Brubeck-  Piano
  • Paul Desmond-  Alto Sax
  • Ron Crotty-  Bass
  • Joe Dodge-  Drums

Track Listing:

  1. I’ll Never Smile Again – 5:30
  2. Laura – 3:07
  3. Lullaby In Rhythm – 7:23
  4. For All We Know – 5:40
  5. All The Things You Are – 9:50

Released by Fantasy as a 10-inch record and pressed on red, black, green, blue and purple vinyl.  This is the second album featuring recordings from a college concert by Brubeck.  This album also marks the first appearance of Joe Dodge on drums.  Yet again, in a probable attempt to better fit the music onto a 10-inch album, the track listing has been altered from the actual concert sequence as described in the liner notes.  SPECIAL NOTE:  This album contains the full version “All The Things You Are”; all later versions used an edited version that omits the last chorus from Desmond’s solo, shaving about 30 seconds off of the track.


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Jazz At the College of the Pacific- Volume 2

  • Fantasy OJCCD-1076-2
  • Recorded:  14 December, 1953 at the College of the Pacific, Stockton, CA and (track 8) 1942 at same location
  • Released:  2003

Personnel:

  • Dave Brubeck-  Piano
  • Paul Desmond-  Alto (1-7)
  • Ron Crotty-  Bass (1-7)
  • Joe Dodge-  Drums (1-7)

Track Listing:

  1. Crazy Rhythm – 6:30
  2. Let’s Fall In Love – 8:09
  3. Stardust – 8:18
  4. How High The Moon – 8:23
  5. The Way You Look Tonight – 8:01
  6. Love Walked In – 8:07
  7. Give A Little Whistle – 8:42
  8. I Found A New Baby (Bonus Track) – 1:35

Released on CD in 2003, this album presents the rest of the material recorded during the concert that made up Brubeck’s first Jazz At the College of the Pacific.  Track 8 is from 1942 and features Brubeck playing solo piano in a rehearsal room at the College of the Pacific as a student.  This album was sourced from Brubeck’s personal tapes.


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Untitled Release

  • Fantasy 535
  • Recorded:  October 1953 in Bill Bates’ home, Los Angeles, CA
  • Released:  December 1953

Personnel:

  • Dave Brubeck-  Piano
  • Paul Desmond-  Alto Sax
  • Ron Crotty-  Bass
  • Lloyd Davis-  Drums

Track Listing:

  1. Trolley Song Rehearsal
  2. Trolley Song

Initially released by Fantasy as a promotional 78rpm single on 10-inch shellac for DJs and reviewers, these recordings are from the same rehearsal session that yielded “My Heart Stood Still” on Fantasy 530; the “Trolley Song” that appeared on that release is the same as this one.  This was an unusual release in that the first side featured a snippet of an informal rehearsal as the guys hash out the arrangement for “Trolley Song”.  The side fades as they play the intro.  The second side features the full take.  Obviously released without Brubeck’s permission (a common practice at Fantasy), they printed the following message on the A-side of the disc:

“Dear Dave:
Please forgive us releasing this, but we felt this was too good an example of what happens at one of your recording sessions to withhold from Disc Jockeys and Reviewers.
Max & Sol”

“Max & Sol” is Max and Soul Weiss, the brothers that started Fantasy Records.  SPECIAL NOTE:  Although “My Heart Stood Still” and the rehearsal of “Trolley Song” would appear on future releases, the complete take of “Trolley Song” from the same session was only released on these 78rpm discs and as a 45rpm vinyl EP by Fantasy. All other releases of “Trolley Song” by Fantasy were of a completely different version. The EP is worth mentioning here.  Released as Fantasy EP-4055 under the title The Trolley Song and pressed on black and blue vinyl, this release is amusing for several reasons.  The cover shot features a fun, informal picture of the Brubeck Quartet circa 1953.  The liner notes (probably written by one of the Weiss brothers) amusingly detail the history behind the rehearsal and subsequent complete take of “Trolley Song” and the subsequent release.  It’s a humorous, no doubt inflated (and slightly illegal) explanation, and one can only imagine Brubeck’s reaction to these releases.

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