Dave Brubeck

One of the founders of the West Coast cool jazz scene, Brubeck was responsible for popularizing jazz with the Caucasian college crowd. Among his quartet’s many milestones are his early university tours and the seminal Time Out record.


  • Jazz at Oberlin (1953) A
    • On some nights, there is a certain magic in the air. It becomes palpable — only a select few live albums can make you feel like part of the crowd, as if you were there. The Quintet’s May 15th date in Toronto. Duke Ellington’s 7/7/56 set at Newport. The Brubeck Quartet’s night at Oberlin College also goes down as one of jazz music’s greatest performances.

      Jazz goes to college and an underground movement was born. Brubeck’s wildly imaginative piano chords, coupled with Paul Desmond’s wispy alto sax solos, gave white hipsters across the country something to write home about. It was like Columbus Day for the Jazz-is-Art crowd.

  • Jazz Goes to College (1954) A-
    • While lacking the magical coherency and continuity that made Jazz at Oberlin such a landmark occurrence for jazz,  Jazz Goes to College continues Dave Brubeck’s trailblazing winning streak. But instead of Brubeck’s blocky piano chords taking center stage, it is the smooth syncopation of Paul Desmond’s alto sax soloing that defines the Quartet. Greatest performance at the University of Michigan until the Fab Five.