Following yesterday’s announcement about the loss of the brilliant Canadian guitarist Ed Bickert, here is a piece from the 1975 Paul Desmond Quartet album Live, recorded at Bourbon Street in Toronto in 1975. We hear Bickert and Desmond with bassist Don Thompson and drummer Jerry Fuller. They play Desmond’s composition “Wendy."
Desmond based “Wendy” on the chord structure of one of his favorite ballads, “For All We Know.” He named the piece for a woman who was a romantic interest. That was after a few title changes. In an interview for my Desmond biography, bassist Thompson traced the final change to the tune’s name.
“What I do know,” Thompson told me, “is that it waffled between ‘Pittsburgh’ and ‘Wendy’ for a long time. It was ‘Pittsburgh’ for quite a while, actually, then one night he came in and said, ‘I think it might not be ‘Pittsburgh.’ It might be ‘Wendy.’ Then when we went to San Francisco to play the El Matador, he came in with this young girl with dark hair. That’s all I remember about her. When he introduced her to me, he said, ‘Don, I want you to meet Pittsburgh.’ I broke up because this was the Wendy whom nobody knew until then.”