CD The Best of Paul Desmond (CD 1188676),
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The Best of Paul Desmond
1. Song to a Seagull
2. Take Ten
3. Romance de Amor
4. Was a Sunny Day
5. Summer Song / Summertime
6. Squeeze Me
7. I'm Old Fashioned
9. You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To
10. Autumn Leaves
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 45484
Personnel includes: Paul Desmond (alto saxophone); Don Sebesky (conductor, piano); Jackie Cain, Roy Kral (vocals); Chet Baker, John Frosk, Alan Rubin, Marvin Stamm (trumpet); Wayne Andre, Garnett Brown (trombone); Paul Faulise (bass trombone); Jimmy Buffington, Peter Gordon (French horn); Phil Bodner (flute); Milt Jackson (vibraphone); Bob James (acoustic & electric pianos); Roland Hanna (piano); Gene Bertoncini, Gabor Szabo, Ed Bickert, Jim Hall (guitar); Ron Carter (bass); Jack DeJohnette, Billy Cobham, Connie Kay, Steve Gadd (drums); Ralph McDonald, Phil Krauss (percussion).
Producer: Creed Taylor.
Compilation producer: Didier C. Deutsch.
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey between 1972 and 1975. Includes liner notes by Didier C. Deutsch.
Digitally remastered by Mark Wilder (Sony Music Studios, New York, New York).
Since Paul Desmond only recorded two albums for CTI, this best-of accumulation from that label stretches the definition a bit by including Desmond appearances on other CTI albums by Jim Hall, Chet Baker, Don Sebesky, and Jackie & Roy, along with extensive samplings from the solo albums. Of course, a more sweeping idea would have been to raid Columbia's vast Dave Brubeck archives for more prime Desmond, but the archivists presumably wanted a more musically unified package. In any case, during this period Desmond was working at a very relaxed pace, recording now and then, fitting into the carefully produced small-group CTI format and a handful of orchestral sessions. He plays beautifully at all times, with Creed Taylor's production inflating the famous dry-martini alto sax tone into something fuller and lusher. Yet he didn't have too much that was new and striking to say at this stage; the earlier Creed Taylor A&M releases are more eloquent and Desmond's true Indian summer would come in his later Horizon recordings with and without Brubeck. Standouts include the lopsidedly swinging remake of "Take Ten" with Gabor Szabo on guitar; two tracks from Pure Desmond with guitarist Ed Bickert as Desmond's subdued, inspired new sidekick ("Squeeze Me," "I'm Old Fashioned"); and an absolutely gorgeous "Song to a Seagull" from Sebesky's Giant Box. As a summation of a particular period of Paul Desmond's career, there is plenty to enjoy here. ~ Richard S. Ginell
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