Before I start, let me tell you where I am coming from. I am a professional jazz guitarist who plays 90% of his gigs in Europe. Now something about the artists:
Best known for the work Desmond did in the Dave Brubeck Quartet and for penning that group's greatest hit, "Take Five", he was not only one of the most popular musicians to come out of the West Coast's "cool jazz" scene, but also the possessor of a legendary and idiosyncratic wit.
In addition to his work with Brubeck he led several of his own groups and did significant collaborations with artists such as Gerry Mulligan, Jim Hall and Chet Baker. After years of chain smoking and general poor health, Desmond succumbed to lung cancer in 1977 following one last tour with Brubeck.
Mulligan was famous for his pianoless quartet with Baker on trumpet, Bob Whitlock on bass and Chico Hamilton on drums (later Mulligan himself would occasionally double on piano). Baker's melodic style fit well with Mulligan's, leading them to create improvised contrapuntal textures free from the rigid confines of a piano-enforced chordal structure. While novel at the time in sound and style, this ethos of contrapuntal group improvisation hearkened back to the formative days of jazz. Despite their very different backgrounds, Mulligan a classically-trained New Yorker and Baker from Oklahoma and a much more instinctive player, they had an almost psychic rapport and Mulligan later remarked that he had never experienced anything like that before and not really since. Their dates at the Haig became sell-outs and the recordings they made in the fall of 1952 became major sellers that led to significant acclaim for Mulligan and Baker.
This album is a pianoless Quartet with Mulligan, Desmond, Wendell Marshall on bass & Connie Kay on Drums. It's difficult to pick just one tune from the CD which is my favorite. But, if you insist, I'll take "All the Things You ARE"
The real story of the album is the interplay between Mulligan on baritone sax & Desmond on alto sax. I feel this is among the fineest albums ever made in the heyday of bebop jazz. I am certain you will agree.Read more ›