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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.

International tours by the quartet have made it one of America’s foremost goodwill ambassadors. It entertained world leaders at the Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Moscow in 1988 and has performed regularly for American presidents, other heads of state, and Pope John Paul II. Always striving to expand the horizons of jazz, Dave Brubeck and his quartet appeared and recorded with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in 1959. Brubeck continues to appear as composer-performer in concerts of his choral and symphonic works. He celebrated his eightieth birthday with the London Symphony Orchestra, performing an all-Brubeck program that featured him along with four of his sons as soloists.

Role: Ensemble 
Album Title  Catalogue No  Work Category 
BRUBECK: Gates of Justice (The) Naxos
Choral - Sacred
Choral - Sacred

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