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Late Lament

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Album Review

Newly signed with RCA Victor not long after the Brubeck Quartet hit the big time with his composition "Take Five," Desmond's initial entry was a lavish session with strings, horn, two winds, and harp arranged and conducted by Bob Prince. Originally called Desmond Blue, the album was renamed Late Lament (after its second track) when reissued in 1987, now presented in chronological sequence with a then-unissued bonus track, "Imagination," from a session held six months later. The arrangements are actually quite creative when they move around — the opening of "I Should Care" is quite stunning — yet the orchestrations are often omnipresent throughout entire tracks, though mixed down in the background. Much of the time, Desmond just lays back and muses dreamily, sparing in his choice of notes, relaxing against the cushion. Yet he still comes up with some original ideas that will zap you; his wry composition "Desmond Blue" is full of them and "Like Someone in Love" has a particularly winsome solo. Jim Hall sits in on several of the ten tracks, poking his head through the cushion now and then for an understated solo. Though the critical response was predictably dire and there is more inventive solo Desmond around, this is an undeniably classy entry in the make-out jazz genre. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Biography

Born: November 25, 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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Late Lament, Paul Desmond
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