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Dave Brubeck turned 90 today. His status as one of the most commercially-successful jazz musicians ever led to the almost inevitable backlash, but he’s a distinctive and individual player who’s created a lot of excellent music although not, in the final analysis, one of the all-time greats.

His long-lasting quartet with Paul Desmond deservedly gets most of the plaudits, but I think his late 60s / early 70s band with Gerry Mulligan was pretty good too.

They were apparently always billed as the Dave Brubeck Trio with Gerry Mulligan: Mulligan was originally only meant to be guesting with them for one tour, but stayed for five or six years. The “Live at the Berlin Philharmonie” album is particularly enjoyable.

Many happy returns, Dave!

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