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Alto saxophonist Paul Desmond died on Memorial Day, 1977.
On this Memorial Day weekend, the editorial staff at JazzProfiles thought it might be appropriate to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Paul’s passing with the following videos that feature his superbly unique alto playing in different musical contexts.
To ours ears, Paul’s sound is associated with everything that we find beautiful in the music. His was a masterful command of the alto saxophone and his conception took the instrument to new heights, both figuratively and literally.
Paul’s music was like a good book: you could put it down and pick it up again anytime the mood suited you or you could stay up all night reading it. It was full of melodic “stories,” humor, and great depth of feeling.
Listening to Paul play was always a satisfying experience; and like the reading of that good book, one generally came away wanting more.
Stardust – Paul with pianist
Dave Brubeck, bassist Ron Crotty and drummer
You Go To My Head – Paul with Don Elliott on trumpet and mellophonium, Norman Bates on bass and Joe Dodge on drums.
Chorale – Paul with
Dave van Kriedt on tenor saxophone, Dave Brubeck on piano, Norman Bates on bass and
Joe Morello on drums.
I’ve Got You Under My Skin – Paul with Jim Hall on guitar, Milt Hinton on bass, Robert Thomas on drums and strings and horns arranged by Bob Prince. [Click on the “X” to close out of the ads when these appear on the video].