My Funny Valentine 5. Mean To Me 6. Wendy 7. Wendy 2. Nancy 5. Manha De Carnaval 6. Here's That Rainy Day 7. My Funny Valentine 8. Take Five Paul Desmond was an artist who stood alone on the alto saxophone. His tone was light but full. His improvisations were complex but always lyrical and direct. If Johnny Hodges was the seducer on alto, Desmond was the cool intellect always willing to engage all of your senses.
From to , he was the famous alter ego to Dave Brubeck's equally challenging but always robust piano inventions. The unprecedented success of the Brubeck quartet with 17 years of constant club dates, concerts, and sound checks, accompanied by a succession of airports, cab rides, hotels, and food-on-the run took its toll on the members of the group.
Desmond's only professional activities outside the Brubeck orbit were several recorded encounters with Gerry Mulligan and the recording quartet that he led from to with guitarist Jim Hall and drummer Connie Kay on a succession of albums for Warner Bros. When the Brubeck quartet disbanded in , Desmond began a phase of semi-retirement. The last album in this run was the aptly-named "Pure Desmond" with a quartet that included Canadian guitarist Ed Bickert, who was recommended to Paul by Jim Hall.
Desmond was accepting few live gigs during this period beyond reunion tours with Brubeck. He didn't need the money and he was physically spent.
Bassist Don Thompson and drummer Jerry Fuller completed the band. Desmond connected with this rhythm section immediately and a strong musical bond developed on the bandstand that yanked Desmond out of his doldrums. He later wrote of "the giddy euphoria of playing a club again after years of concerts. Ed Bickert is unique.
Chords, for instance…when I work with Ed, I find myself turning around several times a night to count the strings on his guitar. Desmond was energized and the quartet became a strong unit with its own personality in no time at all. Thompson is the only member still alive today, and contributes to the liner notes, as well as producing this project. He was involved in recording the music at the club as well.
His bass playing throughout the seven nights is steady and rock solid, with numerous solos as evidence. He was a true professional, putting ego aside. His brush work here is impeccable. Ed Bickert was unavailable for the October gigs, and we have the opportunity to hear for the first time, trombonist, Rob McConnell, sit in for Bickert. As Desmond fans know well, Paul was famous for bringing in snippets of other songs to embellish the tunes.
He enjoyed doing this to keep himself, and the audience amused and involved. His alto floats and settles like a fine mist on a warm day. He was noted for his erudite wit as well. Desmond liked to change the key of classics depending on his mood. To hear Desmond emote on this classic song brings chills, comparable to that of hearing Bill Evans on piano doing the same tune.
The acoustics on these tracks is warm and inviting. Articles Features Interviews Lists. Streams Videos All Posts.
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