Dave Brubeck
50 Years of Brubeck: Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival 1958–2007
(Monterey Jazz/Concord)


50 Years of Brubeck is the “best, by far,” of the albums to be released by the Monterey Jazz Festival’s house record label, said Jeff Simon in The Buffalo News. But that’s not all. The latest offering from the archives of the yearly California gathering—which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007—is also the “finest single disc extant encapsulating the past 50 years” of Dave Brubeck’s musical career. The pianist, who turns 88 this year, revolutionized jazz with unusual time signatures and polyrhythmic style. This album “shows an incredible knowledge” of Brubeck’s work and reveals his evolution as a player and a composer, said Ken Dryden in All Music Guide. The various musical collaborations it chronicles feature the crowd-pleasing “Take Five” and the “challenging” “Tritonis,” while also revisiting such “old chestnuts” as the fiery “Sleep” and easy-breezy “Margie.” A live collection as vast and complete as this “should have been an impossible task,” but Brubeck and co-producer Russell Gloyd have pulled it off. The result is a collection as “consistently superb” as Brubeck’s playing over the years, said Will Layman in Jazz Today. The “striking” release defines—and defies—all we’ve come to expect from the pianist.