Paul Desmond

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Born: November 25, 1924; San Francisco, CA   Died: May 30, 1977; New York, NY  
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 Read more reedmen -- especially in the upper registers. Desmond is best known for his years with the Dave Brubeck Quartet (1959-1967) and his infamous composition "Take Five." He met Brubeck in the late '40s and played with his Octet. The Quartet formed toward the end of 1950 and took final shape with Eugene Wright and Joe Morello a few years later. Jazz at Oberlin and Take Five were considered essential purchases by college students of the era, but Jazz Impressions of Japan was its most innovative recording. Desmond played his loping, slow, ordered, and intricate solos in direct contrast to the pianist's obsession with large chords, creating a myriad of textures for melodic and rhythmic counterpoint unlike any heard in jazz. His witty quotations from musicals, classical pieces, and folk songs were also a watermark of his artistry. When the Quartet split in 1967, Desmond began an intermittent yet satisfying recording career. It included dates with Gerry Mulligan for Verve, various sessions with Jim Hall, and a concert with the the Modern Jazz Quartet. He played his last gigs with the Brubeck Quartet at reunions before dying of lung cancer. Desmond's recordings for RCA have gotten box-set treatment and Mosaic issued one of the complete sessions with Hall. There are also reissues from A&M and CTI, though recordings on Artist House and Finesse remain regrettably out of print. Read less
Browse 1-19 of 19 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Schanner Blech-Fufermusig: Brass Dance Music from Switzerland
    Label: Musiques Suisses   Catalog: 33 Release Date: 07/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Paul Desmond,  Lorenz Stockli,  Tobias Zwyer  ... 
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  • 2.
    Cello Effect
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 15364 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Giacomo Puccini,  Antonio Carlos Jobim,  W.C. Handy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rastrelli Cello Quartet
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  • 3.
    Detours: Music For Percussion & Piano
    Label: Big Round Records   Catalog: 8938 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone,  Howard Shore,  Paul Desmond,  Sean Beeson
    Performer:  Joel Goodfellow,  Cesar Aguilar 'El Gullo',  Joe Porter
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  • 4.
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5218 Release Date: 01/01/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bronislaw Kaper,  Domenico Modugno,  Roger Roger,  Leroy Anderson  ... 
    Performer:  Roberto Inglez,  Harry Robbins,  Johnny [John Waldo Green] Green
    Conductor:  Cyril Ornadel,  Percy Faith,  Roger Roger,  Leroy Anderson  ... 
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  • 5.
    A Summer Place /  Amy Dickson
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 304041 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Max Steiner,  Burt Bacharach,  Michel Legrand,  Paul Desmond  ... 
    Performer:  Vicci Wardman,  Amy Dickson,  Caroline Dale
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  • 6.
    Brugge: Music For Strings /  Skou-larsen, Salzburg Chamber Solists
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 31856 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joachim Brügge,  Traditional,  Burt Bacharach,  Paul Desmond
    Conductor:  Lavard Skou-Larsen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salzburg Chamber Soloists
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  • 7.
    Falling In Love With Paul Desmond
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63620 Release Date: 03/15/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Wells,  Johnny Green,  Richard Rodgers,  Matt Dennis  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Desmond,  Jim Hall
    CD: $17.99
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  • 8.
    Mix-5: Premiere Recordings For Bassoon And Cello
    Label: Paradox   Catalog: 5637732201 Release Date: 01/29/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Martin Zalba Ibanez,  Mike Curtis,  Guang Ya Liu,  Paul Desmond  ... 
    Performer:  Mateusz Wolski,  Jennifer Scriggins,  Tana Bland,  Sean Lamont  ... 
    Conductor:  Verne Windham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paradox (Classical Duo)
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  • 9.
    From The Flute, From The Heart
    Label: Syllaria   Catalog: 5637676580 Release Date: 09/21/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Theobald Boehm,  Gabriel Fauré,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Dominic Kyrie,  Pat Rodgers
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  • 10.
    Lazy Days Of Jazz
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63228 Release Date: 09/16/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Desmond,  David Rose,  Ben Oakland,  Edward "Duke" Ellington  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Desmond,  Gary Burton,  Dominique Eade,  Henry "Red" Allen  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward "Duke" Ellington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duke Ellington Orchestra
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  • 11.
    The United States Army Strings
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: ALT61372 Release Date: 05/18/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Desmond,  Jay Ungar,  John Lennon,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Marlisa Woods,  Laura Knutson,  Manuel Bobenrieth,  Emily Leader  ... 
    Conductor:  Jim Keene
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  • 12.
    Take 9 / The American Horn Quartet
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1089 Release Date: 12/30/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kerry Turner,  Eric Ewazen,  Leonard Bernstein,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Charles Putnam,  Geoffrey Winter,  Kerry Turner,  Jerome Ashby  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic Horns,  American Horn Quartet
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    CD: $14.99
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  • 13.
    The Harvey Pittel Saxophone Quartet Live In Chicogo
    Label: Mark Records   Catalog: 2106 Release Date: 01/01/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Maurice Ravel,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Roger Greenberg,  Vincent Gnojek,  Harvey Pittel,  Todd Oxford
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Harvey Pittel Saxophone Quartet
    On sale! $15.98
    CD: $11.99
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  • 14.
    United Sounds Of Bassoon / Turkovic, Goldings, Galler, Et Al
    Label: Camerata Records   Catalog: 545 Release Date: 12/14/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Desmond,  Cypriano de Rore,  Scott Joplin,  W.C. Handy  ... 
    Performer:  Milan Turkovic,  Clelia Goldings,  Richard Galler,  Alex Turkovic  ... 
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  • 15.
    The London Double Bass Sound / Karr, Simon, Et Al
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 110 Release Date: 12/07/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul McCartney,  Paul Desmond,  Victor Young,  Vincent Youmans  ... 
    Performer:  Gary Karr
    Conductor:  Geoffrey Simon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Double Bass Sound
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  • 16.
    Little Tunes For The Big Bassoon / Susan Nigro, M. Lindeblad
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 348 Release Date: 05/28/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Henry Mancini,  Ruth Gipps,  Eugčne Bozza  ... 
    Performer:  Susan Nigro,  Mark Lindeblad
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