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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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I member on my site asked me to do a lesson on Paul Desmond and I realized that I don't own one Paul Desmond recording. I don't even have Take 5 on my computer. I wanted to see what you guys thought the top recordings were for him that I should get. Thanks, Steve
 

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My Favorite is Summertime. It is a bit expensive because it is a foreign CD, but his playing is superb, and the arrangements by Don Sebesky are tastefully done.

One of my favorite solos by Desmond is in Perdito on the Dave Brubeck Quartet Featuring Paul Desmond In Concert Album.
 

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I could listen to this solos by Paul forever.
He just goes on and on with incredible ideas and flowing lines. Truly a master.

 

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I like his works with Chet Baker - 2 lush players playing cool together.
 

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Two of a Mind with Gerry Mulligan is great. The counterpoint work is phenomenal. The different styles of those two guys work together to make great music.
 

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I like Take Ten with Jim Hall on RCA, esp. the title track.
 

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You can't go wrong starting with the quartet stuff he did with Jim Hall (Bossa Antigua, Easy Living, Glad to Be Unhappy, Take Ten, 1st Place Again). Also, Two of A Mind with Mulligan, Live (with the Toronto rhythm section) and the Brubeck Quartet featuring Desmond Live in Concert (from Oberlin) are all outstanding as well.
 

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+ Infiniti!!!
You can't go wrong starting with the quartet stuff he did with Jim Hall
Easy Living is terrific, one of my favorites. (I have the CD Polka Dots and Moonbeams which is 6 of the tracks from Easy Living...). Connie Kay plays some great laid back and in the pocket time on that one, and Jim Hall always works so well with horn players.

Desmond also contributes nicely on a few tracks on Jim Hall's classic album Concierto. Of course, anything by Jim Hall is usually great (imo).

My favorite track from Brubeck's Time Out are Strange Meadowlark (as well as Take Five).
 

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"Paul Desmond & the Modern Jazz Quartet" is an album that Doc Tenney turned me on to during a lesson in his basement 15 years ago. It is still to this day my single favorite Desmond album. It's a live recording from Christmas Day 1971 at Town Hall in New York City. It's a shame Desmond and MJQ never played together before or after. In my mind, Desmond and MJQ are a match made in heaven.
 

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Two of a mind

pure desmond (desmond blue)

the jazz at oberlin concert

time out

time further out
 

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Bridge Over Troubled Water is Desmond's version of a Paul Simon songbook; excellent!
Late Lament and Desmond Blue are the same album issued at different times, and are Desmond with strings albums.
The pre Morello Brubeck recordings are more first generation Brubeck and more American songbooky than the Joe Morello era more experimental "Time Out" recordings.

A lot of the albums are remastered compilations - also good but a good argument for downloading individual tracks after listening to their sound bites since that's the easiest way to avoid duplication.

Also take a listen to Brent Jensen's "Sound of A Dry Martini" album. He does an uncanny job of channeling PD.
 

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Time Out

Two of a Mind

Pure Desmond

Jazz at Oberlin

Paul Desmond & The MJQ

Really any of his stuff is gold. Check out this Perdido he did at the Oberlin concert. This is back when audiences appreciated the skill of players and the music in general; listen to how they go crazy when Paul shows his virtuosity in the altissimo register.


- Saxaholic
 

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Bossa Antigua is an album performing bossa... His sound in this album is one of the best alto sax sounds i have heard ever......!!
 
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