Following my post yesterday on Dave Brubeck's Dave Digs Disney (1957), I heard from Iola Brubeck, Dave's wife. The album has been newly remastered and reissued by Sony/Legacy in mono and stereo versions plus alternate takes. If you were ever a kid, you'll love the new release, which is brimming with childlike optimism and energy. [Pictured: Iola and Dave Brubeck]
Here's Iola's email to me:
"Dave Digs Disney has always been one of our favorites, too. As you noted in your post, the Dave Brubeck Quartet had played some of those Disney-related tunes for several years before the album was actually made.
"Dave was familiar with the melodies because our five kids loved to play them on their individual portable record players. The records were the vinyl Little Golden Records series that I believe were issued by Disney. Dave had heard those tunes repeatedly around the house until they sank into his subconscious, I guess, and the group began to play some of the tunes. Some Day My Prince Will Come became a favorite of ours, as well as Alice in Wonderland.
"Disneyland in California had been open a couple of years before we had an opportunity to take our family from Oakland to Anaheim for a visit. That was when Dave was struck with the idea of recording an album devoted to the Disney melodies. I believe he had the idea right in the park and called George Avakian immediately.
"From what I understand, the business heads at Disney were not too interested in a jazz recording of its songs, so a tie-in was not possible. The solution was to call the album Dave Digs Disney and to use the image you see on the cover, not the park.
"It is interesting that you mentioned in your post that Dave Digs Disney was the second best-selling album in Dave's Columbia catalog. Dave used to joke about that when he introduced Someday My Prince Will Come at concerts. He would say that the reason the album sold so well was that Columbia added Dave Digs Disney to its Columbia House Record Club lineup.
"Columbia had a policy of automatically sending out recordings to members of the club and if not returned within a certain number of days, it was considered a purchase. Dave said he could only imagine the surprise some grandparents experienced when they received the record and played it for little Johnny or Jane expecting a nice "Mickey Mouse" album of sweet Disney tunes.
"I found the new album's outtakes to be particularly interesting. It's fun to compare takes and try to guess why one was chosen over the other. I'm biased, of course, but they all sound good to me."