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The Best of Paul Desmond

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Album Review

Since Paul Desmond only recorded two albums for CTI, this best-of accumulation from that label stretches the definition a bit by including Desmond appearances on other CTI albums by Jim Hall, Chet Baker, Don Sebesky, and Jackie & Roy, along with extensive samplings from the solo albums. Of course, a more sweeping idea would have been to raid Columbia's vast Dave Brubeck archives for more prime Desmond, but the archivists presumably wanted a more musically unified package. In any case, during this period Desmond was working at a very relaxed pace, recording now and then, fitting into the carefully produced small-group CTI format and a handful of orchestral sessions. He plays beautifully at all times, with Creed Taylor's production inflating the famous dry-martini alto sax tone into something fuller and lusher. Yet he didn't have too much that was new and striking to say at this stage; the earlier Creed Taylor A&M releases are more eloquent and Desmond's true Indian summer would come in his later Horizon recordings with and without Brubeck. Standouts include the lopsidedly swinging remake of "Take Ten" with Gabor Szabo on guitar; two tracks from Pure Desmond with guitarist Ed Bickert as Desmond's subdued, inspired new sidekick ("Squeeze Me," "I'm Old Fashioned"); and an absolutely gorgeous "Song to a Seagull" from Sebesky's Giant Box. As a summation of a particular period of Paul Desmond's career, there is plenty to enjoy here. ~ 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...
Full bio
The Best of Paul Desmond, Paul Desmond
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  • €10.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop
  • Released: 22 May 1990

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