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Desmond Blue (Bluebird First Editions Series)

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Album Review

Paul Desmond's sessions away from the Dave Brubeck Quartet were always something special, and this greatly expanded reissue edition of Desmond Blue is no exception. By far the most interesting album that the alto saxophonist ever did with an orchestra, no doubt due to the choice of first-rate standards (such as "My Funny Valentine," "Body and Soul," "Ill Wind," and "Like Someone in Love") as well as conductor Bob Prince's thoughtful and never burdensome arrangements, the dependably melodious and inventive Desmond works magic in each of the seven standards and two originals heard here. This CD adds the three unreleased tracks featured in the complete box set of Desmond's RCA recordings, but also includes four more alternate takes that appear for the first time. Accompanied by the equally lyrical guitarist Jim Hall and a rhythm section that alternates between bassists Milt Hinton, George Duvivier, and Gene Cherico and drummers Connie Kay, Bobby Thomas, and Osie Johnson, this is an ideal CD to introduce newcomers to jazz without overwhelming them. Doug Ramsey's new liner notes add a very personal touch to this reissue, which should be considered an essential acquisition.


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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Desmond Blue (Bluebird First Editions Series), Poul Desmond
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