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Pure Desmond

Paul Desmond

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Album Review

With the Skylark "experiment" behind him, Paul Desmond reverted back to the relaxed quartet format that suited him well in the past. The reason? Through Jim Hall, he found a little-known, splendid guitarist in Toronto named Ed Bickert who became his new gigmate in 1974, and this album was meant to show his discovery off. In fact, it sparked a Desmond renaissance where he regained a good deal of the witty spark and erudite cool of his collaborations with Hall, no matter how unfashionable it was to play this way in 1974. Bickert is an even more reticent player than Hall, softer in touch and temperament, but eminently musical, enough to fire up Desmond's creativity. Old Desmond hand Connie Kay lends sympathy and comfort on drums, and Ron Carter is on bass. "Squeeze Me," "Everything I Love," and "Till the Clouds Roll By" are the best examples of the empathy at work here but any track will do, including the two outtakes on the first CD release, the "Song from M*A*S*H" (which, come to think of it, always had a Desmond-like wistfulness about it) and Jobim's "Wave," which develops a suavely songful quality midway through. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Biography

Born: 25 November 1924 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Paul Desmond is widely recognized for his genius as a melodic improviser and as the benchmark of cool jazz sax players. His warm, elegant tone was one that he admittedly tried to make sound like a dry martini. He and Art Pepper were virtually the only alto players of their generation not directly influenced by Charlie Parker. Desmond was influenced by Lester Young, but took it further, into melodic and harmonic worlds never before traveled by reedmen — especially in the upper registers. Desmond...
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Pure Desmond, Paul Desmond
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