STARS OF JAZZ - JULY 23, 1956 - SHOW #5
COMMENTARY © James A. Harrod, Copyright Protected; All Rights Reserved
The TV Guide copy for the fifth Stars of Jazz program was a brief two line listing that Dave Brubeck and his quartet were guests on the program, no mention of Betty Roche or the fact that Dave Brubeck had appeared on the cover of Time magazine and his quartet was perhaps the most popular jazz combo in America. Dave was the second jazz artist to appear on the cover of Time, Louis Armstrong being the first to grace the magazine.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet was appearing at Zardi’s Jazzland for an extended engagement in the summer of 1956. The members of the quartet during this period included Paul Desmond on alto sax plus Norman Bates on bass and Joe Dodge on drums. Dave had recently signed a recording contract with Columbia Records and had three LPs in release when the quartet appeared on Stars of Jazz: JAZZ GOES TO COLLEGE (CL 566), DAVE BRUBECK AT STORYVILLE, 1954 (CL 590) and BRUBECK TIME (CL 622).
Bobby Troup presented an abbreviated history of Dave Brubeck’s musical growth, noting that Dave had studied with the French composer, Darius Milhaud, at Mills College. Dave first heard of Milhaud through his brother, Howard. Howard had studied with Milhaud at Mills along with Pete Rugolo, the first male students to be admitted to Mills. Howard’s enthusiasm for Milhaud was one factor that influenced Dave’s desire to study with Milhaud. Brubeck was also familiar with one of the first jazz-influenced classical works that Milhaud had composed, LA CREATION DU MONDE. The fact that Milhaud liked and respected jazz was very important to Brubeck. Brubeck first met Milhaud in 1942. Howard was teaching at Mills at the time and was Milhaud’s assistant. Dave was a student at College of the Pacific in Stockton and made an appointment for an interview with Milhaud. He hitch-hiked from Stockton to Mills college for the interview and played a composition that he had written. Milhaud asked Dave to play some jazz as well. Dave knew he would be entering the armed forces soon and resolved to study with Milhaud when he returned to civilian life after the war.
Betty Roche was best known as a featured vocalist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra where her version of TAKE THE “A” TRAIN helped to cement that tune in the jazz standard repertoire. Miss Roche was backed on her Stars of Jazz appearance by William Austin on piano, James Aton on bass and Stan Levey on drums. She performed Bobby Troup’s ROUTE 66 and IN A MELLOW TONE (announced by Bobby Troup as BABY YOU & ME). Miss Roche had recently recorded an album as leader for Bethlehem Records and mentioned during her interview with Bobby that it should be available shortly.
At the close of Stars of Jazz on July 16th Bobby had announced that the first 200 viewers who wrote to the station would receive a copy of Woody Woodward’s JAZZ AMERICANA book. The response was overwhelming and on this show Bobby apologizes that the supply of 200 copies quickly were spoken for but asks that viewers wishing the book secure a copy as it retailed for a modest seventy five cents and was widely available at bookstores and news agents. The station was able to secure a sponsor for this show, Schweppes (the quinine tonic mixer) and the commercial breaks featured Commander Whitehead, playing himself, who always had a supply of Schweppes Tonic on hand when entertaining. See details at:
Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Pete Robinson and Joe Dodge
John Tynan (Down Beat Magazine) presents award to Buddy Collette as Bobby Troup looks on, photo by Dudley Blake.