Here is a real treasure from the vinyl collection. The first two Fantasy Records releases were 1950 recordings by The Dave Brubeck Trio. Here is the Fantasy compilation reissue from those sessions in 1956, pressed on red vinyl. Brubeck’s piano style is notably different on these early recordings, with lots of nimble runs, as these tracks were laid down before his surfing injury which left him with nerve pain in his hands for years. This trio has sadly all passed on, but I had the privilege of seeing Brubeck live when he was 80 years old. His banter was a bit like listening to someone’s grandpa, but he and his band at the time were still smoking hot.
Brubeck, who had been an early investor, left Fantasy Records in 1953, but between 1950 and ’53, it was practically his private label, and he is the one artist who put them on the map (the label still exists today.)
This trio was a supergroup. I am a jazz vibraphone fan, and I always enjoy Carl Tjader (1925-1982), plus he adds some fine percussion when he is not on vibes. Ron Crotty (1929-2015) provides a solid bass on these tracks. And Brubeck (1920-2012), practitioner of the “cool jazz,” practices an almost classical pianism. The great days of the Dave Brubeck Quartet were still ahead, but the earliest Brubeck recordings (with the trio and the octet) were already producing collectible tracks.
–D. Dalenberg MD