Jazz Articles

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Album Review

Paul Desmond: The Complete 1975 Toronto Recordings

Read "The Complete 1975 Toronto Recordings" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan


Even if he had never played another note following the break-up of the Dave Brubeck group in 1967, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond would have entered the history books as one of music's most brilliant improvisers. During his 17 years with Brubeck, Desmond proved himself to be an indispensable part of that quartet with a wistful and witty sound that he himself described as akin to a “dry martini." Fortunately, Desmond continued to add to his legacy starting in ...

234

Mix Tape

Desmond After Dark (With the Dave Brubeck Quartet)

Read "Desmond After Dark (With the Dave Brubeck Quartet)" reviewed by Michael Ricci


Alto saxophonist Paul Desmond's solos kept me connected to the Dave Brubeck Quartet's music. A perfect “dry martini" mix of boundless lyricism and musical excellence. The following tunes were selected from several albums included in the The Dave Brubeck Quartet: The Complete Columbia Studio Albums Collection 1954 to 1967 box set. TrackNameTimeArtistAlbum1The Night We Called it a Day6:11Dave BrubeckAngel Eyes2Take Five5:27The Dave Brubeck QuartetTime Out3Georgia On My Mind6:42The Dave Brubeck QuartetGone With The Wind4Angel Eyes7:27Dave BrubeckAngel Eyes5Coracao ...

376

Forgotten Finds

Great Sidemen - Great Leaders

Read "Great Sidemen - Great Leaders" reviewed by Greg Simmons


Being a sideman can be a thankless job. Sure, you might get to play regularly, but you rarely get to call the tune. If your boss is a big star, the gig might even pay pretty well, but if the band is going to Fargo, North Dakota in January, brother, so are you, and you weren't even consulted on travel arrangements.Of course, most jazz musicians--including the ones now thought of as great leaders--have to start out as sidemen ...

180

Album Review

Paul Desmond: Pure Desmond

Read "Pure Desmond" reviewed by John Kelman


With a dry tone, and unhurried phrasing definitive of the emergent West Coast Cool--a relaxed alternative to the edgier hard bop coming from New York--alto saxophonist Paul Desmond had already made a name for himself with pianist Dave Brubeck's quartet on the legendary Time Out (Columbia, 1959). Desmond also wrote the tune that became Brubeck's signature, “Take Five," and, while he passed away too young at the age of 52 from lung cancer, he's left behind a relatively small but ...

1,485

Book Excerpts

Paul Desmond: Take Ten

Read "Paul Desmond: Take Ten" reviewed by Doug Ramsey


This article appears in Chapter 28 of Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond by Doug Ramsey (Parkside Publications, 2005). When Desmond had time off from the Brubeck group, he was likely to be recording under his own name. Beginning with the first Desmond Blue session, he and Jim Hall were in RCA's famous studio A (shades of Toscanini, Horowitz and Heifitz) or studio B nineteen times from 1961 to 1965 for recording sessions ...

626

Album Review

Paul Desmond: Autumn Leaves: The Lost Vocal Session

Read "Autumn Leaves: The Lost Vocal Session" reviewed by Ken Dryden


Doug Ramsey's award-winning, critically acclaimed biography Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond revealed a lot about the late alto saxophonist, a quiet man who was a brilliant musician, humorous writer and quick-witted punster. But even Ramsey didn't learn of this previously unknown session until a few months ago. It was recorded during the making of the album 1975: The Duets with Dave Brubeck. Desmond, who at the time was seeing a young lady in her early ...

524

Just For Fun

Paul Desmond-isms

Read "Paul Desmond-isms" reviewed by AAJ Staff


Alto saxophonist Paul Desmond worked with pianist Dave Brubeck for 18 years. He's best known for his composition “Take Five," which helped make Brubeck's record Time Out a mega-hit. Desmond's saxophone playing was always marked by an unusual fluidity and warmth. Through a number of solo records, he expanded on a relaxed but sophisticated sound.Who would have guessed that Paul Desmond had a wickedly acerbic wit, ironic and self-deprecating at the same time?“I have won several ...


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