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The Complete RCA Victor Recordings Box set

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, October 14, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Desmond's supremely lyrical alto saxophone and his gift for odd time signatures nestled for decades in the Dave Brubeck quartet, but there's something very special about the recording dates he made under his own name. This five-CD set collects five LPs and alternate takes recorded between 1961 and 1965, usually with the altoist matched with the superb guitarist Jim Hall, a musician possessed of comparable lyricism, economy, and harmonic gifts. The settings range from woodwinds and strings for the Desmond Blue album to the subtle Latin rhythms of the Bossa Antigua session; throughout there are beautifully realized versions of the standard repertoire, with tunes like "My Funny Valentine" and "Alone Together" heard through the luminous gauze of Desmond's sound. --Stuart Broomer

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. My Funny Valentine
  2. Desmond Blue
  3. Then I'll Be Tired Of You
  4. I've Got You Under My Skin
  5. Late Lament
  6. I Should Care
  7. Like Someone In Love
  8. Ill Wind
  9. Body And Soul
  10. Advise And Consent
  11. Autumn Leaves
  12. Imagination

Disc: 2

  1. Take Ten
  2. El Prince
  3. Alone Together
  4. Embarcadero
  5. The Theme From Black Orpheus
  6. Nancy
  7. Samba De Orpheu
  8. The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else
  9. Out Of Nowhere
  10. Embarcadero (Alternate Take)
  11. Prince (Alternate Take)

Disc: 3

  1. Glad To Be Unhappy
  2. Poor Butterfly
  3. Stranger In Town
  4. A Taste Of Honey
  5. Any Other Time
  6. Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo
  7. Angel Eyes
  8. By The River Sainte Marie
  9. All Across The City
  10. All Through The Night

Disc: 4

  1. Bossa Antigua
  2. The Night Has A Thousand Eyes
  3. O Gato
  4. Samba Cantina
  5. Curacao Doloroso
  6. Ship Without A Sall
  7. Alianca
  8. The Girl from East 9Th Street
  9. The Night Has A Thousand Eyes (Alternate Take)
  10. Samba Cepeda
  11. O Gato (Alternate Take)

Disc: 5

  1. When Joanna Loves Me
  2. That Old Feeling
  3. Polka Dots And Moonbeams
  4. Here's That Rainy Day
  5. Easy Living
  6. I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face
  7. Bewitched
  8. Blues For Fun
  9. Rude Old Man
  10. Polka Dots And Moonbeams (Alternate Take)
  11. Bewitched (Alternate Take)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 14, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B000003G76
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,837 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lawrence Bausch on August 25, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This box set of the Complete Recordings of the Paul Desmond Jim Hall Quartet has been mistaken for the Complete RCA Recordings of the Quartet by Amazon, and every review under this title is for that different set. This selection also differs from the Moziac box set. What we have in this selection is the music from every lp the Quartet released, including the non-RCA first album, "East of the Sun", which was also on the Moziac set. Also like the Moziac set, it is missing one tune from "Bossa Antigua". It includes the 7 missing tracks from the lps which were also in the Mozaic set, but here is where the similarity ends. This set does not include the 6 alternate takes of tunes properly released on the lps. However, it makes up for this omission by including the Paul Desmond release with Strings (originally called "Desmond Blue",which also features Jim Hall on several cuts), also with its 3 additional tracks omitted from the lp.

So, this set differs from the "RCA" set with which it has been confused in the reviews, in the following ways: This set omits 7 tunes, one from "Bossa Antigua" and 6 alternate takes, and replaces them with the 7 tunes on "East of the Sun" and one track which surfaced on its cd reissue.

Considered by the musical contents, of the 3 box sets I think this one is to be preferred, as it is only missing one original tune and 6 versions, whereas the Moziac set it missing 13 tunes, and the RCA set is missing 8 tunes.

The booklet from this set is rather brief, but does include significant excerpts from Desmond's original liner notes to "Take Ten" and "Bossa Antigua", which are quite clever. I understand, however, that the written materials in the Mozaic set are superior.
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Comment 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
When I reviewed this set before I should have mentioned that it's not EXACTLY like the corresponding Mosaic box. A Warner Brothers album that was included on the Mosaic set is replaced here by an RCA album with strings (Desmond Blue)----the arrangements are not terrible but to these ears simply unnecessary. This was music with a compelling inner logic that required no sweetening. Adding strings to the interplay between Jim Hall and Desmond is kind of like adding extra syllables to a haiku, at least to my mind. But though I'd have to put the Mosaic set half a notch higher, it HAS been out of print for some years, so unless you want to tape it from a friend or library (or God forbid, get it off eBay) this 5-CD box is almost as good a deal. And hey, no surface noise.
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Desmond still doesn't get his due. After playing with the Brubeck band for so many years, his considerable individual talents were overlooked or dismissed. Now he's almost as forgotten as Buddy DeFranco. The fact is, he was as original and commanding a player as Stan Getz or Lee Konitz, and just as deserving of attention. Outside of the Brubeck band he seemed to prefer playing with guitarists instead of pianists (is it any wonder?) and these sessions with the redoubtable Jim Hall show Desmond at his best. Both Desmond and Hall particularly shine on disc one, among the best tracks Desmond ever recorded. I originally bought most of this stuff as a Mosaic vinyl boxed set, but I'm very tempted to get this reissue just to have a copy free of any possible surface noise.
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By A Customer on June 15, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I read a response from one reviewer and had to respond. This CD is an absolute must for anyone who loves Jazz. Desmond and Hall are two gifted players who both possess a sound that is immediately identifiable. Along with their unique sound, they possessed an equally unique approach. I listened to this and I couldn't think of a place where they played an extra note and the sound is just beautiful. In an age of overkill, the Art of restraint in Music is too often overlooked. Listen to the masters of restraint. This is Art and if you can't hear it here, you probably don't really like great improvisation, in my humble opinion.....
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A little history -- I borrowed the Jim Hall/Paul Desmond RCA collection from a friend and wanted my own, so I purchased this one. Musically, Jim Hall and Paul Desmond are always fantastic together. I love the musicianship, but one thing I've haven't seen mentioned in the reviews is the mastering quality of the collections. This JC collection is of lesser quality in that regard. The bass end is very, very up front and the whole collection is very "boomy" to me. The RCA collection's mastering is very tight and punchy, and if I had to choose between the two, it'd choose the RCA for sound quality.

That said, after fiddling with my stereo's mids and bass, problem mostly solved.
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I appreciate the previous reviewers here - and while I do not own this RCA set, I do own the almost identical Mosaic label(out-of-print) set which I treasure above ALL of my hundreds of CDs and LPs.
Since the Mosaic set was more pricey and is now a collector's item - you would be well advised to pick up this set if you like Desmond. In fact, I'd recommend you go for everything Desmond recorded in a quartet format with either of two guitarists: Jim Hall and Ed Bickert.
I have dozens of Desmond recording acquired over decades and pure, unadulterated Desmond (without strings or orchestra) is as good as it gets. Get this set for your ears and your soul.
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