291

Paul Desmond: Cool Imagination

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Anyone remotely familiar with “Take Five” will recognize Paul Desmond’s dry, feathery alto instantly. However, Desmond often lived in Brubeck’s shadow, and many may not know that Desmond also recorded several fine albums as a leader as well. Brubeck and Desmond had an unwritten contract that the altoist would not play with any other pianist, and Desmond was lucky enough to enlist guitarist Jim Hall as a sideman. Hall has a light, nuanced style more suited to Desmond’s approach than Rollins’ on the previous album, and the two crafted five albums of excellent understated cool jazz.

Cool Imagination is probably all the Desmond that anyone will really need, although the devoted will want to seek out the excellent RCA set that collects all of Desmond’s recordings with Hall. If there’s a fault to this compilation, it’s that the selection leans too heavily on the ballads and the whole thing comes off as a bit maudlin and sentimental; only “Alone Together” documents Desmond’s ability to swing at a faster tempo. Also, the selections from the over-represented Desmond Blue, saturated by orchestration from Bob Prince, sound like the soundtrack to Disney movies and may not be to everyone’s taste. Also included are two fine tracks featuring Gerry Mulligan, off of Two Of A Mind, a disc not included in the RCA box.

Despite its faults, Cool Imagination demonstrates how Hall’s shimmering chords and Desmond’s cool alto were a great match. Fans of Brubeck will definitely enjoy this collection, as will anyone who enjoys the cool school of jazz improvisation.


See Combing the Bluebird Catalog for related reviews.
Visit www.bluebirdjazz.com on the web.


Track Listing: 1. Imagination 2. A Ship Without A Sail 3. Desmond Blue 4. Glad To Be Unhappy 5. That Old Feeling 6. Out Of Nowhere 7. Samba Cantina 8. Here

Personnel: Paul Desmond-alto sax; various others

Title: Cool Imagination | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Bluebird


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Yequm CD/LP/Track Review Yequm
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 24, 2017
Read Schlitten CD/LP/Track Review Schlitten
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 24, 2017
Read The Willisau Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Willisau Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: October 24, 2017
Read Together Apart CD/LP/Track Review Together Apart
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 24, 2017
Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read "8th Window" CD/LP/Track Review 8th Window
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: April 11, 2017
Read "Meet Me At Minton's" CD/LP/Track Review Meet Me At Minton's
by James Nadal
Published: June 17, 2017
Read "The Things We Did Last Summer" CD/LP/Track Review The Things We Did Last Summer
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 5, 2017
Read "Lingo" CD/LP/Track Review Lingo
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "Sonic Cinema" CD/LP/Track Review Sonic Cinema
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Moments Of Fatherhood" CD/LP/Track Review Moments Of Fatherhood
by John Sharpe
Published: April 9, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.