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Paul Desmond & the Modern Jazz Quartet (Live)

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Album Review

The MJQ made their annual Christmas gig at New York's Town Hall one year, and who should show up after intermission but Paul Desmond, who would hardly bring himself to play with anyone in those days, save a Creed Taylor record date or two. The cool classical modernists and the dry-martini altoist are not unexpectedly a close fit — after all, Percy Heath and especially Connie Kay had been fixtures on Desmond's solo sessions — and they do some relaxed swinging turns on some congenial standards, adaptations of P.D. tunes ("La Paloma," "Greensleeves"), one current hit ("Jesus Christ Superstar" in a cute John Lewis arrangement), and the inevitable "Bags' Groove" (here entitled "Bags' New Groove"). Again, Desmond softly intones perhaps his favorite standard in the repertoire (he recorded it countless times), "You Go to My Head," tumbling contrapuntally around Milt Jackson in the tune, while "East of the Sun" has a fine chase sequence between the two down the stretch. Though they had been friends since the 1950s, this was apparently the only time the MJQ and Desmond ever performed in public, making this one-off album (issued well after Desmond's death through Lewis's efforts) a thing to savor for fans of all five musicians. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Customer Reviews

One of the Best

I owned this concert on cassette and just about wore it out. The way Paul Desmond's alto floats on top of the MJQ is just breathtaking, especially on "You Go to My Head". I know it is not possible to buy single songs but, do yourself a favor, buy the album, get a nice glass of wine and enjoy some of the finest lyrical jazz you will ever hear.

Biography

Genre: Jazz

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
Paul Desmond & the Modern Jazz Quartet (Live), Paul Desmond & The Modern Jazz Quartet
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  • $5.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop
  • Released: Dec 25, 1971

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