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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 ...

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

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 ...

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

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 ...

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 ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond

Read "Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond" reviewed by Ken Dryden

Doug Ramsey Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond Parkside Publications ISBN: 0961726679 2005

Paul Desmond was an integral part of the Dave Brubeck Quartet for seventeen years and a brilliant lyrical alto saxophonist who sought a personal sound on his instrument, one of a few emerging saxophonists in the early 1950s who chose not to copy the furious bop licks of Charlie Parker. He was also the composer ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond

Read "Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond" reviewed by Brian P. Lonergan

Doug Ramsey Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond Parkside Publications ISBN: 0961726679 2005

Paul Emil Breitenfeld is better known by jazz fans as Paul Desmond and still more widely known as “the guy who wrote 'Take Five'". Desmond's distinctive alto sound and his inventive and impeccably constructed solos go far beyond the composition of his greatest hit, as catchy as that tune is. Now, almost three decades since ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Paul Desmond: Cool Imagination

Read "Cool Imagination" reviewed by David Rickert

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Paul Desmond: Lemme Tell Ya 'Bout Desmond: the Music of Paul Desmond

Read "Lemme Tell Ya 'Bout Desmond: the Music of Paul Desmond" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

An alto saxophone tone as dry and bright as a martini with the sun shining through it.

I have been listening to this disc over and over and over. My knowledge of Desmond is admitted limited. Sure he penned “Take Five" and was a mainstay with Brubeck in the '50s and '60s. And sure he has had a moon of ink spilled on his behalf. But I have been listening to this disc over and over and over.

Joel Dorn ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Paul Desmond: Lemme Tell Ya 'Bout Desmond

Read "Lemme Tell Ya 'Bout Desmond" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Oddly, few saxophonists choose to imitate Paul Desmond's sound. Even Lee Konitz, whose timbre is comparable, attracts more imitators, perhaps because of his angularity and his adaptability to virtually any configuration of musicians or any musical concept. While Desmond's sound within the Dave Brubeck Quartet of course is as well-known as Brubeck's himself, Desmond's coolness remains pristine and unique, even though a generation has passed since his death. In contrast, consider Bird's and Coltrane's musical descendants.Perhaps a reappraisal ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Paul Desmond: Lemme Tell Ya 'Bout Desmond

Read "Lemme Tell Ya 'Bout Desmond" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Oddly, few saxophonists choose to imitate Paul Desmond's sound. Even Lee Konitz, whose timbre is comparable, attracts more imitators, perhaps because of his angularity and his adaptability to virtually any configuration of musicians or any musical concept. While Desmond's sound within the Dave Brubeck Quartet of course is as well-known as Brubeck's himself, Desmond's coolness remains pristine and unique, even though a generation has passed since his death. In contrast, consider Bird's and Coltrane's musical descendants.Perhaps a reappraisal ...