When the Dave Brubeck Quartet broke up in 1967, Paul Desmond worked sporadically playing live dates, probably in part due to his substantial royalty income from his hit composition "Take Five." When Jim Hall was unavailable to play with Desmond in Canada, he recommended guitarist Ed Bickert who, like Hall, is a brilliant accompanist with the kind of musical E.S.P. that Desmond had with Brubeck. Bassist Don Thompson (who is also a fine pianist and vibraphonist) and drummer Jerry Fuller round out this solid quartet, which worked off and with Desmond when he played in Canada during the remainder of his life. These sessions, drawn from several nights at Bourbon Street in Toronto during the fall of 1975, are intimate performances enjoyed by attentive audiences. The selections include songs that Desmond had recorded with Brubeck or Gerry Mulligan, along with tunes he had played on his own records. Desmond's cool tone and witty quotes are a treat throughout the album. The toe-tapping blues "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" showcases Bickert's lyrical playing, along the subtly swinging work of Thompson. Desmond playful interpretation of "Nancy (With the Laughing Face)" is typical of his recorded work. The most surprising track is the unusual setting of "Take Five," which takes an exotic route near the beginning of the leader's solo, with a droning vamp underneath him. First released as a two-LP set by Horizon/A&M in 1976, the album wasn't in print long due to the demise of Horizon, though frustrated collectors welcomed the 2000 Verve CD edition, which not only fit all of the music onto a single disc, but added a previously unissued take of Gerry Mulligan's "Line for Lyons" along with the original liner notes by Desmond and his good friend, journalist Doug Ramsey, plus extensive updated notes by Carl Woideck. This is easily the cream of the crop of Paul Desmond's post-Brubeck recordings as a leader and rivals the studio albums he recorded with Jim Hall; it is unfortunate that Desmond was diagnosed with lung cancer around the time this recording was first issued in 1976, which cut short a brilliant career far too soon.
Performance CreditsPaul Desmond Quartet Primary Artist
Ed Bickert Guitar
Paul Desmond Alto Saxophone
Don Thompson Bass
Jerry Fuller Drums
Technical CreditsMercer Ellington Composer
Don Thompson Engineer
Peter Keepnews Reissue Notes Editor
Antônio Maria Composer
John Snyder Original Album Producer
Doug Ramsey Liner Notes
Carl Woideck Liner Notes
Ben Young Reissue Research
Tom Greenwood Reissue Research,Reissue Production Coordination
Ted Persons Composer
Cynthia Sesso Reissue Photo Research
Carlos Kase Reissue Research,Reissue Production Coordination
Bryan Koniarz Reissue Production Supervisor
Jamie Krents Reissue Production Assistance
John Wriggle Reissue Production Assistance
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Paul Desmond Quartet Live based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
If you like Desmond, you will love this recording. Taped at a live performance in a jazz club, Desmond gets into an incredible groove. The cut "Wendy" is one of the best single pieces I have ever heard.