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Dave Brubeck Trio

Dave Brubeck Trio


In the late 1940s Dave Brubeck was encouraged by his teacher, composer Darius Milhaud, to pursue a dual career in jazz and composition. Brubeck and other Milhaud students at Mills College in Oakland, California, formed an octet. Its early members included Cal Tjader and Paul Desmond, as well as clarinetist Bill Smith, who still appears frequently with Brubeck. The Dave Brubeck Trio was established in 1949 when Brubeck, Tjader, and Ron Crotty cut their first records in San Francisco, winning Best Small Combo awards in the prestigious Down Beat magazine. Paul Desmond joined on alto saxophone in 1951, creating the quartet that caused a stir in the jazz world with a distinctive harmonic approach that became known as “West Coast” or “cool” jazz. During the ’50s the quartet performed at hundreds of college campuses as well as at jazz clubs in major cities, where “package shows” featured Brubeck’s ensemble with Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and others. The Dave Brubeck Quartet won the first jazz poll conducted by the Pittsburgh Courier, an American black newspaper, and continued to take top honors in Down Beat’s reader polls.

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