1955: Dave Brubeck Quartet Discography

Building off of the success from the previous year, 1955 was a year of continued growth. The Brubeck Quartet continued their numerous club appearances while simultaneously touring college campuses. Although signed to Columbia Records, Brubeck still had obligations to Fantasy Records. Fantasy thus continued to release “new” material from the Brubeck group, much of it live material. Despite the scattershot manner in which Fantasy released and documented this music, the live music from Fantasy often contained more energy and emotion than the live material released by Columbia.


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A University Listens To Dave Brubeck

  • No Label- F8OP
  • On CD:  At Pennsylvania State University 1955 on Solar Records 4569948
  • Recorded:  19 March, 1955 at Pennsylvania State University, PA
  • Released:  1955

Personnel:

  • Dave Brubeck-  Piano
  • Paul Desmond-  Alto Sax
  • Bob Bates-  Bass
  • Joe Dodge-  Drums

Track Listing:

  1. Give A Little Whistle – 8:53
  2. Here Lies Love – 7:52
  3. The Trolley – 3:19
  4. Jeepers Creepers – 8:16
  5. These Foolish Things – 11:27
  6. All The Things You Are – 11:26
  7. Dave Brubeck Speaks – 0:50
  8. For All We Know/Closing Announcements – 6:41

Originally released on red translucent vinyl, this unofficial album was pressed by RCA and distributed in limited numbers only to members of the Penn State Jazz Club, all with Brubeck’s permission.  It features the near-complete concert that Brubeck’s Quartet performed that night, with the last song fading out as someone makes a few comments about the album.  Due to the extremely small release and it not being for sale, this record was extremely rare until it was released on CD in 2014 by a European company.  The sound quality is not high fidelity but is definitely listenable.


The Dave Brubeck Quartet with Paul Desmond At The Sunset Center, Carmel - CD front

At The Sunset Center – Carmel 1955

  • On CD:  Solar Records 4569973
  • Recorded:  26 June, 1955 at the Sunset Center, Carmel, CA and (final track) 18 August, 1956 at Basin Street, New York City, NY
  • Released:  2016

Personnel:

  • Dave Brubeck-  Piano
  • Paul Desmond-  Alto Sax
  • Bob Bates-  Bass (tracks 1-8)
  • Norman Bates-  Bass (track 9)
  • Joe Dodge-  Drums

Track Listing:

  1. Introduction by Mort Sahl – 0:25
  2. Gone With The Wind – 14:27
  3. Jeepers Creepers – 9:13
  4. I’ll Never Smile Again – 10:36
  5. Brother Can You Spare A Dime? – 6:19
  6. Trolley Song – 3:53
  7. Little Girl Blue – 9:25
  8. Take The “A” Train – 12:21
  9. Two Part Contention – 7:58

Long circulating among collectors, these bootleg recordings were issued on a physical format “officially” in 2016 as a CD by Solar Records.  The concert from which the first eight recordings originate was a historic one, in that it featured comedian Mort Sahl performing for the first time outside the cozy confines of a night club.  Fantasy Records recorded the concert and released Mort Sahl’s set during Brubeck’s intermission as an album in 1958 (without his knowledge or permission).  These recordings were recorded by an amateur tape machine, and thus feature less-than-perfect sound.  The “Take The “A” Train” included here is the earliest recorded example of Desmond playing his solo in a minor key, something he would regularly do on this tune in later years.  The final track was recorded a year later from a radio broadcast and features the same lineup with the exception of Norman Bates on bass in place of his brother Bob.


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Birdland 1951-1952 / Newport 1955

  • On CD:  Solar Records 4569967
  • Recorded:  17 July, 1955 at the Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, RI
  • Released:  2016

Personnel:

  • Dave Brubeck-  Piano
  • Paul Desmond-  Alto Sax
  • Bob Bates-  Bass
  • Joe Dodge-  Drums

Track Listing:

  1. Introduction by Duke Ellington – 1:30
  2. Back Bay Blues – 5:56
  3. Trolley Song – 4:02
  4. Stardust – 6:22
  5. Crazy Chris (Incomplete) – 2:09
  6. Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me – 6:25
  7. Tea For Two (Incomplete; discussed separately) – 9:40

Initially available online on Concert Vault, Solar released Brubeck’s 1955 Newport set on CD in 2016, along with other live Brubeck recordings from the early ’50’s.  Duke Ellington served as MC that night.  The source of this Newport tape is most-likely a Voice of America broadcast.  “Crazy Chris” fades out soon after beginning, but interestingly, the rest of the recording has showed up on various bootleg albums as “Royal Garden Blues”.  “Tea For Two” was a jam session recorded earlier at the festival and is discussed on it’s own.


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The Newport Years, Vol. 1- Chet Baker Quartet Plus…

  • Philology, Musica Jazz W 51
  • On CD:  Solar Records 4569967
  • Recorded:  16 July, 1955 at Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, RI
  • Released:  1989

Personnel:

  • Chet Baker-  Trumpet
  • Clifford Brown-  Trumpet
  • Gerry Mulligan-  Baritone Sax
  • Paul Desmond-  Alto Sax
  • Dave Brubeck-  Piano
  • Bob Bates-  Bass
  • Joe Dodge-  Drums
  • Max Roach-  Drums

Track Listing:

  1. Tea For Two – 9:44

Initially released on an Italian bootleg album, this jam session performance was most recently released on CD by Solar Records.  This jam session took place during the time between Chet Baker’s set and the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet’s set.  The recording fades out at the end.  Joe Dodge is the drummer at the beginning of the recording, but towards the middle-end, Max Roach takes over on his own drum set.  The sound quality and acoustics suggests the music was recorded on an amateur tape machine located in the crowd.  An interesting if not raucous recording.


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Jazz Interwoven

  • Fantasy 3-20
  • Recorded:  (Tracks 1-2) March 1954 at the University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley CA and (track 3) 26 June, 1955 at Sunset Center, Carmel, CA
  • Released:  1955

Personnel:

  • Dave Brubeck-  Piano
  • Paul Desmond-  Alto Sax
  • Bob Bates-  Bass
  • Joe Dodge-  Drums

Track Listing:

  1. At A Perfume Counter – 14:35
  2. Stardust – 6:49
  3. Crazy Chris – 6:45

Released by Fantasy as a 10-inch record pressed on red, blue, purple, and green vinyl, this was one of the last 10-inch albums Fantasy pressed, abandoning the format for the more popular 12-inch record at the end of 1955.  This is a frustrating and tantalizing album for many reasons, particularly for the avid fan and collector.  There is absolutely no information about the music on the album, with only a magazine review of the group printed on the back as liner notes.  No track listing, locations, or dates-all classic Fantasy shenanigans.  It’s tantalizing because these three well-made recordings come from concerts that Fantasy has never fully released-another classic Fantasy habit.  The first two recordings come from a college concert at UC Berkeley in March of 1954.  Fantasy apparently had the concert professionally recorded, as the sound and fidelity is superior to Brubeck’s Jazz Goes To College album on Columbia.  The two tracks from this concert are excellent.  The final track is from the same Carmel concert that yielded the At Carmel 1955 bootleg album, albeit from the first half of the concert.  The fact that Fantasy recorded Mort Sahl’s intermission set as well as this song strongly suggests that the entire Carmel concert was recorded.  Taken as a whole, this album’s contents, made up of two concerts, indicates that Fantasy has the full concerts of these appearances on tape languishing in a vault, or did at one point.  The tracks on this album would later appear on various future Fantasy albums in a scatter-shot way, a la Fantasy’s custom.


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Jazz:  Red Hot and Cool

  • Columbia CL 699
  • On CD:  Columbia/Legacy CK 61468
  • Recorded:  (Tracks 3-4, 6-7) 12 October, 1954; (Tracks 8-9) 23 July and (Tracks 1-2, 5) 9 August 1955 live at Basin Street, New York City, NY
  • Released:  September 1955

Personnel:

  • Dave Brubeck-  Piano
  • Paul Desmond-  Alto Sax
  • Bob Bates-  Bass
  • Joe Dodge-  Drums

Track Listing:

  1. Lover – 5:08
  2. Little Girl Blue – 10:40
  3. Fare Thee Well, Annabelle – 7:23
  4. Sometimes I’m Happy – 5:23
  5. The Duke – 2:46
  6. Indiana – 5:55
  7. Love Walked In – 8:47
  8. Taking A Chance On Love (Bonus Track on CD) – 4:12
  9. Closing Time Blues – (Bonus Track on CD) – 6:57

Released by Columbia as a standard LP in the autumn of 1955, this album was released on CD in 2001 with two bonus tracks from the same venue.  One could only hope that this means that there is more live material from Basin Street and that Sony will one day release it.  In an amazing example of the degree to which Brubeck’s group was working, part of this album was recorded the same day Brubeck entered the studios to tape material that would be released on Brubeck Time.  This album is notable for it’s inclusion of The Duke, a Brubeck original written for Duke Ellington.


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Columbia House Party

  • Columbia (No catalog no.)
  • On CD:  Sincerely Yours (Jo Stafford) on Sepia Records
  • Recorded:  12 October, 1954 at Basin Street, New York City, NY
  • Released:  1955

Personnel:

  • Dave Brubeck-  Piano
  • Paul Desmond-  Alto Sax
  • Bob Bates-  Bass
  • Joe Dodge-  Drums

Track Listing:

  1. Camille

Columbia released this record in 1955 as part of yet another promotional deal.  If someone bought one of their higher-end HiFi sets valued at $100 or more, they got this record for free.  As a result, it was never for sale.  This record was conceived to be a sort of house party at Jo Stafford’s house, with different Columbia stars drifting through to “perform”.  Brubeck’s group shows up and performs the last number, “Camille”.  Well, Brubeck and Desmond show up, and after some stiff pleasantries are exchanged between Brubeck, Stafford and her husband Paul Weston, they ask him to perform something.  Brubeck asks Desmond, who naturally agrees, and then, as applause begins, the group jumps right into… “Sometimes I’m Happy”, from the album Jazz: Red Hot and Cool, sans the intro.  The tune immediately begins with Desmond’s solo, but is otherwise identical in every way to the same tune on the ‘Red Hot & Cool’ album, albeit sped up.  SPECIAL NOTE:  In other words, “Camille” is just “Sometimes I’m Happy” from Jazz:  Red Hot and Cool, minus the intro and melody statement by Brubeck and Desmond.  It is NOT a new song.

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