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A Tribute to Paul Desmond (feat. Larry Koonse, Ed Czach, Luther Hughes & Steve Barnes)

Bruce Babad

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Customer Reviews

Simply Sublime

On this CD, Bruce Babad and his band pay homage to the amazing Paul Desmond. First, kudos to Babad for paying tribute to a sometimes overlooked jazz giant. Every track here is terrific. On Gerry Mulligan's "Line for Lyons", the band really swings, with Babad's playful alto sax clearly front-and-center. The dreamy "When Sunny Gets Blue" gets the bossa nova treatment and sounds superb, with Larry Koonse's smooth, classy guitar honoring Desmond's favorite bandmate Jim Hall with every note. Fred Rogers' "It's You I Like" is as gorgeous a melody as you're likely to hear this side of Heaven, and Babad's playing is as sublime as the song. Other highlights include "Wendy", a lovely tune penned by Desmond himself. And I can't neglect to mention Babad's own "Jan" and "B-A-B-A-D", both of which sound like they are jazz standards you've heard a thousand times even if it's your first listen. The band is terrific throughout. Drummer Steve Barnes recalls Connie Kay's cool, never rushed style, Ed Czach's piano captures the mood perfectly and Luther Hughes' bass is just right. As for Babad himself, he absolutely shines throughout the recording. To his credit, Babad doesn't seek to mimic Desmond. Rather he honors Desmond's distinctive lyrical, always imaginative approach, without abandoning his own good-natured, oft-quoting, spirited style. Five stars for an outstanding CD!

Swinging Tribute to a Master

The greatest tribute to a master like Desmond is not to worship note for note, but to absorb and interpret afresh in your own work. This sums up Bruce’s album for me, jazz that can easily remain in the background to be enjoyed in the company of friends; but each song begs to be heard individually, pulling you into the artistic tapestry that Bruce so deftly weaves with his sax. Bruce's quartet brings a mature sound to this straight-ahead jazz; you are in the hands of underrated masters in our local SoCal jazz scene. Just close your eyes and be pulled away with "Jan", Bruce's warm love song to his beautiful bride; or tap your feet to B*A*B*A*D, a tune that begs to be a standard in my opinion. This is a cd that will remain on my Ipod’s shuffle rotation for some time to come.

A Tribute to Paul Desmond (feat. Larry Koonse, Ed Czach, Luther Hughes & Steve Barnes), Bruce Babad
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