As the featured alto saxophonist in the Dave Brubeck quartet, Paul Desmond was a central figure in the most commercially successful jazz ensemble of the time. As the sole horn in the group he attracted considerable critical and public acclaim for his supremely lyrical, sublimely melodic playing. But even a beloved sideman has to step into the full glare of the spotlight at times. The 1961 ‘Desmond Blue’ matched the saxophonist with a string orchestra and outstanding arrangements by Bob Prince for a set of exquisitely rendered classics including a memorable “My Funny Valentine”. Five of the six albums feature melodic guitar giant Jim Hall, his ideal musical partner. Paul Desmond was a master at Bossa Nova, heard here on both the ‘Bossa Antigua’ and ‘Take Ten’ albums.
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