Dave Brubeck death: Top 5 Brubeck albums
Published: December 6, 2012 09:00AM
Updated: December 5, 2012 01:46PM
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FILE - This Aug. 23, 1981 file photo shows jazz pianist Dave Brubeck at the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, R.I. Brubeck, a pioneering jazz composer and pianist died Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 of heart failure, after being stricken while on his way to a cardiology appointment with his son. He would have turned 92 on Thursday. (AP Photo/Paul Mello, file)

Legendary jazz musician Dave Brubeck, who died Wednesday, leaves behind one of the most impressive catalogs in music history. He explored so much musical territory, while consistently operating at a remarkably productive clip, during a career that dates back to the 1940s.

Here are his top five albums:

1. “Jazz Goes to College” (1954) • This album documents Brubeck’s tour across college campuses, which helped make him one of the genre’s top names and land him on the cover of Time magazine. The album was part of a line of college-themed offerings (such as” Jazz Goes to Junior College” and “Jazz at the College of the Pacific”) that established Brubeck as a hip choice for jazz listeners.

2. “Time Out” (1959) • This is the one we all seemingly can agree on. It’s Brubeck’s crowning achievement, and clearly ranks as one of the most popular and successful albums in jazz history. The album’s use of (then) unusual music time signatures was groundbreaking, and the work also produced the all-time jazz gems “Blue Rondo a la Turk” and “Take Five.”

3. “Bernstein Plays Brubeck Plays Bernstein” (1961) • This is a cherished collaboration between the Dave Brubeck Quartet and the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Bernstein. Side 1 features “Dialogues for Jazz Combo and Orchestra,” a four-part suite composed by Brubeck’s brother, Howard Brubeck, while Side 2 contains five Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim compositions from “West Side Story.”

4. “Time Further Out” (1961) • As the name suggests, this follow-up to “Time Out” is another adventure in wild musical time signatures. The album featured one of Brubeck’s best compositions, “Unsquare Dance.”

5. “Jazz Impressions of Japan” (1964) • The album is a kind of musical journal of the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s tour of Japan. Among the collection’s many lovely compositions, the most lasting impression, clearly, comes from “Koto Song.”