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The students at Oberlin College's world-renowned Conservatory of Music had no idea what they were in for when The Dave Brubeck Quartet came to play a concert on March 2, 1953. But man, did they dig it!
Jazz at Oberlin was a world-changer in more ways than one - in addition to being one of Brubeck's finest and one of the decade's best! And, the UK's Guardian picked it as one of its Top 50 Moments in Jazz!
And that is why this incredibly remastered and reissued five-track CD is here for you!
"This is incredible music, jazz or whatever, and you should buy it." - Down Beat, review of Jazz at Oberlin
Back in the early 50s, the Oberlin concert halls were filled with the likes of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. Most music schools across the U.S. were dedicated solely to the study of classical music. And jazz was played pretty much behind closed doors in back rooms, and its following was best described as "underground".
That was until some enlightened and enterprising Oberlin students worked to make the concert a reality and Dave Brubeck's smoking' quartet took the stage at Finney Chapel. The campus radio station, WOBC, recorded the event, and Brubeck's label got the tapes and produced and released Jazz at Oberlin later that year.
The first Oberlin Jazz Club was started soon after, and the stage was set for jazz to officially become part of the Music Conservatory's curriculum in 1972.
It was definitely a breakthrough, even historic happening!
"The idea of presenting a jazz concert on a college campus was something that really hadn't been done," says Nick Phillips, executive with Concord Music Group, which issued this special remastered classic. "So this recording represents a historic first. The combination of the quartet and the unbridled from the audience is riveting."
"Jazz at Oberlin was an extremely popular record for Brubeck's quartet and a smashing success in the Oberlin community. The concert and album presented an audience largely uneducated in jazz with some of the genre's finest players, all performing at the top of their game." - Jonah Berman. Oberlin Backstage Pass blog
"There had never been a commercial jazz recording that contained, again and again, such spontaneous eruptions of enthusiasm" - Ashley Kahn, jazz critic and historian and liner notes contributor for Jazz at Oberlin. Sixty years later, "Brubeck's playing is still astonishing."
In addition to signaling the change of performance space for jazz from the night club to the concert hall, "Jazz at Oberlin" also marked the beginning of West Coast or Cool Jazz.
"Brubeck's first Great Jazz Moment is one that has been overlooked though – the making of his quartet's 1953 live album, Jazz at Oberlin. Not only did this dynamic gig reveal Brubeck's vivacious creative relationship with west coast alto saxophonist Paul Desmond to a new and youthful audience, confirming the then 29-year-old Desmond as a sensational sax improviser, it also indicated new directions for jazz that didn't slavishly mirror bebop, and even hinted at free-jazz piano techniques still years away from realisation." - John Fordham, The Guardian
Have a taste, and we know you will totally agree that you need a copy of Jazz at Oberlin of your very own - or to give to someone your really like!
If you like this CD, check out our entire Music collection.
Jazz at Oberlin was recorded live at Finney Chapel at Oberlin College on March 2, 1953, and originally released later that year by Fantasy Records. For this incredible performance, The Dave Brubeck Quartet was comprised of Dave Brubeck on piano, Paul Desomod on alto sax, Ron Crotty on drums and Lloyd Davis on drums.
An extension of Concord Music Group's popular Original Jazz Classics series, Jazz at Oberlin was reissued in March, 2010, as part of the label's new OJC Remasters releases.
The five track CD was remastered with 24-bit technology, and featured newly written liner notes by jazz critic and historian Ashley Kahn.