Saturday, February 23, 2008

Dave Brubeck on Columbia

A pet peeve of mine is the neglect of Dave Brubeck's catalogue by Columbia, his record label during the 1950's and 60's. Okay, I will be the first to admit this is not a world-shaking issue. There are far more important things in life. But as a Brubeck fan, I would love to see his Columbia catalogue treated with the same reverence accorded to Miles Davis's. Columbia has put out entire box sets cataloguing complete sessions for Miles's albums. Which is great, and which Miles totally deserves. But I just wish they would do more for Brubeck's material, as there are still many Brubeck recordings on Columbia that have never been issued on CD. (There are many more that have only been issued in Japan, which are only available in the States at insanely high prices.) Okay, so Miles was with Columbia a lot longer than Brubeck was. But Brubeck made many of his most important records for Columbia, and everything featuring his Classic Quartet with Paul Desmond, Eugene Wright, and Joe Morello was recorded for Columbia.

Is it because Miles is dead and Brubeck is alive? It could be that Columbia is more interested in pushing someone who's dead, rather than someone who still records, and not on their label. But they should do Brubeck the honor of re-issuing this material while he's still alive! He's 87, he won't be around forever. But Columbia hasn't issued any Brubeck material since the box set "For All Time," back in 2004. Did they mark his 85th birthday back in 2005 by digging into the vaults and re-issuing long out of print albums? Nope. They celebrated by doing nothing. Come on Columbia, hop to it! If you need someone to take charge of this project, I will personally volunteer my services to oversee the re-issuing of Dave Brubeck's extensive back catalogue. As producer of such acclaimed CD's as "Mark's Mix CD-2007," "Brubeck Mix, Vol. 1," and "The Ultimate Bobby Darin!" I feel that I can bring a lot to this project.

In all seriousness, Sony/Columbia should do more with Brubeck's catalogue, for fans of jazz and great music everywhere. Dave Brubeck was, and is, a jazz giant, one of the truly great piano players and composers, and his back catalogue deserves more respect.

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