Personnel: Dave Brubeck (piano); Paul Desmond, Bobby Militello (alto saxophone); Chris Brubeck (bass trombone); Cal Tjader (drums, bongos); Herb Barman, Joe Dodge , Randy Jones, Lloyd Davis (drums).
Recording information: Avatar Studios, New York, NY; Berkeley, CA; College Of The Pacific, Stockton, CA; Concord Jazz Festival, Concord, CA; Finney Chapel; San Francisco, CA; Washington National Cathedral, Washington DC.
This ESSENTIAL STANDARDS collection from Fantasy is a fascinating glimpse of the early '50s "college" Dave Brubeck when he played with a trio (and bongos!) and also formed his celebrated quartet with altoist Paul Desmond, who shines on "Stardust" and "The Way You Look Tonight," with the pianist providing swinging Bach-like contrapuntal runs on the latter. This was the beginning of the exuberantly intellectual jazz that reached its peak in the late '50s with TIME OUT and other seminal Columbia LPs.
The compilation also includes some post-Columbia tracks from Telarc and Concord, which provides a nice overview of Brubeck's early-to-late career in one neat package.