The Troy Street Observer

October 12, 1952: Brubeck, Taylor-Made

Running respected jazz clubs like the Jazz Workshop and Scullers might be Fred Taylor’s foremost claim to fame, but it isn’t his only contribution to jazz. He’s also been a recording engineer, and one of his efforts produced an album that played an important role in the early careers of Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond.

Cover of Jazz at Storyville
Jazz at Storyville, Fantasy 3-8, 1953

Taylor was a student at Boston University in 1952, and had a jazz group in which he played drums. The pianist knew Brubeck from his army days, and raved about him, so when Brubeck came to Storyville that October, Taylor lugged his reel-to-reel tape recorder to the club and obtained Brubeck’s permission to tape the session.

Boston was infamous in jazz circles for its “eight day week”—the musicians’ union placed no restriction on the number of consecutive days a musician might work without a day off, so a club engagement in the Hub was seven nights plus a Sunday matinee. That’s why the Brubeck Quartet was spending the afternoon of Sunday, October 12, at Storyville. However, bassist Wyatt “Bull” Ruther missed the first set, so Brubeck, Paul Desmond, and drummer Lloyd Davis played as a trio. (The unheralded Davis left Brubeck to join the percussion section of the San Francisco Symphony in 1954, where he remained until 1989.)
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