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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A somewhat recent thread centered on the the biography of Paul Desmond by Doug Ramsey entitled "Take Five - The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond."

It inspired me to take the book out from the library. I have long been a big Desmond fan.

It's been a very interesting read. Most interesting so far has been a letter that Paul wrote to his father in or around August 1949, setting out what the author described as Paul's credo.

So I thought I would share this for those who might be as interested in this as I am.

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Publication Book Font Paper Newsprint
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Thank you for sharing that. I have heard about this book before but now I'm certainly going to buy the book and read it. Growing up in the '50's and '60's from the first time I heard "Take Five", Paul was a great influence on my alto playing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for sharing that. I have heard about this book before but now I'm certainly going to buy the book and read it. Growing up in the '50's and '60's from the first time I heard "Take Five", Paul was a great influence on my alto playing.
Glad you liked it. Do I recall correctly you used to have a picture of Desmond as your avatar?

Re buying the book, as you may already know, it is out of print, and the cheapest copies currently available (I and others have checked) are priced at $200. You never know, you might get lucky, but these days bargains on used out-of-print books are much harder to come by than they were pre-internet.

(On a separate, gear related note, I highly recommend "The Desmond" mouthpiece by Doc Tenney. It deserves its name.)
 

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It's available on Kindle for way less-$15

Definitely a worthwhile read.

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, you are right, I forgot about the Kindle version. I was just thinking about the printed version, as that is what the guy who started the prior thread I referenced was exclusively seeking.

Silly me.
 

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I've been looking for one of these to replace my copy I lost during a cross-country move. Alas, no luck other than $200+ for most copies.

Re: The Desmond Tenney piece...funny it was brought up...I am writing a review for all the "Desmond" mouthpieces out there. I've emulated Desmond and listened to him every day for over 2 decades, and I've tried every single Desmond style piece out there. The Tenney pieces is very far down the list.

Love the excerpt, hope I can find another reasonably priced used copy somewhere.
 

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Apologies. It means there are many pieces that perform better. I wanted Tenneys piece to be great because of his reputation, but I found it rather lackluster.
 

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There is another way to get rare and out of print books and publications on loan for a few weeks. Go to WorldCat.org: The World's Largest Library Catalog and search for the title. The libraries closest to you with that book will be listed. You must be a member at your local library or join in order to use this service. You take the information to your local library and they will arrange a "loan" of that book and will contact you when it comes in.
 

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Thanks very much taking the time for the book page images. Reveals a very articulate person w/ the pen (I guess no surprise there). Brings to mind the lost art of writing letters. To his father no less, & certainly not a short few lines of "hey how ya doin', I'm fine." Back then, even a phone call of this nature would be prohibitive ($)...writing letters was really the only practical way to communicate in depth, if not face-to-face. We likely have lost something w/ newer/faster means...

Seems largely a self-evaluation of apparent insecurities (musical & otherwise)...intonation, lead alto, stylistic adoption of bop, having to unlearn engrained swing style effects, being close to the beat, perfect tone...that's worth the cost of admission right there...
 

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You can see how how analytical he was even about shacking up on the road.
Always an important aspect of being a traveling musician. I agree with his thoughts of how it can help your frame of mind.
 

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I’m tickled by the forever search for a decent reed. And I’m far from a professional player. Some things don’t change at all. Also his take on early Bebop’s spread is interesting - players adopting a new style awkwardly - I can see how it could have been irritating to listen to.
 

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Great book. I recently reposted this excerpt, which is a great reference for musical values:

Brubeck's centennial prompted me to crack open the great Paul Desmond Bio by Doug Ramsey. In it Paul maps out a plan to rejoin the Brubeck Quartet after being let go, calling it Operation Paradise. After laying out a plan to learn all of the arrangements cold, and record himself playing them, he lists his "Playing Goals":
Mechanical -
1. Pretty, but strong, sound. Volume with dignity to match Dave. Soft tone, when used, still firm, definite, relaxed.
2. Automatic technique. Ideas emerge before you even realize you have them.
3. Consistently good intonation without squeezing or choking.
Musical-
1. Individuality. Of a definite nature, not an evasive dodging of other styles.
2. Continuity and form. A definite melodic line, not just a set of spliced cliches. Ideal: A certain elusive kind of logic without triteness.
3. Emotion, honest and simple. You play something because you mean it, you feel it, you like it, and you know pretty much that the people who hear it will like it too, if they have any sense and if not, the hell with them.
4. A beat. Which, you should know by now, comes thru best when you forget all about it, often shrivels up completely when you pursue it, wild-eyed and frantic.
5. Ideally, the main emotion should be the joy of creating, which would mean that a happy feeling should prevail and be communicated to some extent to persons attentive to such things.
There's more, but here's a little glimpse. Always fascinating to read musicians early notes, sadly Paul never finished the book he said he was writing, but we have these little glimpses.
 
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