All About the Trio
Desmond in 1951, but they truly came into their own on tour with flashy drummer Joe Morello and Detroit bassist Eugene Wright. The quartet was an international success, and their recordings for Columbia were among the most popular jazz albums of their time.
Brubeck's renown was long in coming, however. He began piano studies early with his mother. After serving in the army he enrolled in college to study with the famed classical composer Darius Milhaud and formed his first octet which explored connections between classical music and jazz. He performed on the West Coast with a trio, which eventually morphed into the quartet with Desmond. The two had a unique relationship: they looked very much like one another, but the pianist was often hard-hitting and brash, while the saxophonist remained lyrical, understated, airy, and rhythmically subtle. Bassist Wright shared with Brubeck ways of playing that had roots in the pre-modern jazz era, while the drummer and saxophonist seemed more modern.