As legendary a group as the Dave Brubeck Quintet was during the '60s, the fact remains that front line alto man Paul Desmond made some of his finest recordings away from Brubeck and on his own, first for RCA and then for CTI. His RCA sides present the cream of the crop of his recorded legacy, owing much to the fact that during this period Desmond chose not to work with a pianist but instead opted for guitar legend Jim Hall to be present on most sessions. While all of the music from this period is contained on a boxed set, RCA has seen fit to reissue some of the individual albums, with Take Ten being the most recent. With the Classic Edition series the folks at RCA have finally come to their senses by presenting facsimile reissues with upgraded sound and original notes and graphics. While other labels have been doing this for years, RCA has always chosen to mess with the artwork and packaging.
Take Ten then appears with the original cover and two alternate takes. Recorded in 1963 at the peak of the bossa nova craze, this set heads south of the border and with superlative results. If there was a saxophonist besides Stan Getz more capable of exploring the light and whimsical mood inherent in the bossa nova then it had to be Paul Desmond. His takes on "The Theme from Black Orpheus" and "Samba de Orpheu" are among the highlights of this relaxed but never sleepy set of standards and a few originals. Guitarist Hall responds intuitively to Desmond's every move much in the same intelligent way he has done on record with Sonny Rollins. Certainly, if you have this material on either the old Mosaic or new RCA boxed version you don't need it duplicated. However, if this particular set is not in your collection you'd be wise to add it because this "classic edition" is certainly everything that its title implies.
Track listing:Take Ten, El Prince, Alone Together, Embarcadero, The Theme From Black Orpheus, Nancy, Samba de Orpheu, The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else, Out of Nowhere, Embarcadero (alternate take), El Prince (alternate take)
Personnel: Paul Desmond, alto saxophone; Jim Hall, guitar; Gene Cherico, Eugene Wright, George Duvivier, bass; Connie Kay, drums