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About the Reviewer - Wes George

I have been associated around the jazz genre all my life, growing up in a family of jazz professionals my parents played the classic swing and big band dance music throughout their 30 years on the road.

wes george

I grew up being bathed during practice nights by my mother who was the vocalist and pianist in the band and she would wash me during rehearsal breaks on a Sunday evening.

Although I heard all of the pop music growing up in the 50's, 60's and 70's and the soul, rock and country music that my brothers were playing in their bands I started playing soul, funk and fusion jazz in my live shows in the 70's and apart from a radio break in Canada whereby soft rock was the menu I continued with my live shows until 1994 when JazzNet247 Radio Europe was founded.

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Artist : Paul Desmond

Album : Take Ten

Year : 1963

Label : RCA Victor

paul desmond

Personnel : Paul Desmond : Alto Sax | Jim Hall - Guitar | Gene Cherico, Eugene Wright - Bass | Connie Kay - Drums

Paul Desmond was born Paul Emil Breitenfeld in San Francisco in 1924 into a family of Austrian origin, but spent most of his early childhood with his father's relatives in New York.

From a young age he displayed a precocious talent in two areas i.e. music and writing and he studied piano, violin and clarinet before eventually devoting himself to the alto sax.

In 1937 he returned to San Francisco and continued to develop his two passions working for various newspapers and playing with jazz musicians in the local music scene.

After finishing high school in 1941 he changed his surname to Desmond for reasons that still remain unknown and he continued to work as a musician in San Francisco and Los Angeles areas. In 1943 he was drafted into the US Army where he met the musician that he was to become synonymous with for the rest of his life i.e. pianist Dave Brubeck.

Although most of his career recordings are linked with The Dave Brubeck Quartet alongside bass player Gene Wright and drummer Joe Morello Desmond recorded some fine solo albums including Bossa Antigua in 1965, Desmond Blue with strings in 1962, Easy Living in 1966 and Take Ten in 1963 amongst others.

Take Ten includes another excursion into the 5/4 time signature of his famously penned Take Five released in 1959 on the Dave Brubeck seminal album Time Out. The title track has similarities to its cousin and has a Middle Eastern chant like feel and begins in the second half at a livelier pace ( just like Take Five did ).

His love of bossa nova is evident throughout this album and straight ahead bossa athems like Theme From Black Orpheus and Samba De Orfeu are a tribute in part to the founding members of the bossa nova momevement in the early 80's in Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto and Stan Getz who provided the synergy of Brazilian flavours and married it with the iconic sax sound from North America to formulate a sound which took the world by storm. Desmond refers to a hint of overkill and dillution in 1963 of this wonderful music yet most of the tracks on this Take Ten album have some degree of bossa influence.

There are some standards on the album including the Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz penned track for the movie Flying Colors entitled Alone Together, Nancy written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Phil Silvers, rumour was that it was written for Frank Sinatra's daughter of the same name, and The One I Love which was written by Isham Jones and Gus Kahn in 1924, but Desmond wrote two originals for the set El Prince and Embarcadero, the former was a hommage for his arranger Bob Prince and the latter a tribute to a road running alongside the Port Of San Franscico, his home city.

Paul Desmond was a quiet and misunderstood man in many ways and died all too soon at the age of 52 in New York in 1977.

He performed his last concert with Dave Brubeck in February 1977 before passing away on May 30th that year.

In his will he left all of the royalty proceeds of his huge crossover hit Take Five to the Red Cross who have benefited from millions of dollars over the years and Paul Desmond created another legacy that would help others for years to come.  ^

Review by Wes George
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Similar Artists -
Johnny Hodges, Stan Getz, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Dexter Gordon, David Sanborn, Kenny G, Jay Beckenstein

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