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From The Hot Afternoon

4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 4, 2000
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 4, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B00004S95Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,048 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Paul Desmond FROM THE HOT AFTERNOON was originally released on vinyl as A&M SP 3024 in 1969. It was available as CD 824 during the late 80s but has been out of print until now. Thanks to Verve's tremendous reissue program, those who missed out earlier can have it. All songs on this set were written by two premier Brazilian jazz performers and composers, Milton Nascimento and Edu Lobo. In fact Lobo sings and plays guitar on this album. "Faithful Brother" and "Catavento" are my favorite tunes (both by Nascimento). "To Say Goodbye" has an interesting twist. The arrangement was set in a key so low that Vocalist Wanda de Sah could barely whisper the low notes. Rather than change the register, Desmond kept it, a brilliant move which enhanced the tragic effect of the lyrics. Fans of Desmond's A&M work can anticipate the planned reissue of his double LP on A&M/Horizon, QUARTET LIVE. Perhaps soon Verve will be kind enough to issue SUMMERTIME (A&M SP 3015) and BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER (A&M SP 3032), both of which have been unavailable on domestic CD thus far. If you already own a copy of FROM THE HOT AFTERNOON, consider buying the Verve reissue to get the outtake bonus tracks. A real treat!
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Format: Audio CD
I absolutely agree with the previous reviewers comments on this album. Of the late Paul Desmond's long and distinguished career, this long out of print album is one of the highlights. Featuring versions of songs by great Brazilian composers like Milton Nascimento("October"), and Edu Lobo("Crystal Illusions"), Desmond's playing is wonderful throughout. I'd also love to see his "Bridge Over Troubled Water" album reissued, hopefully the good folks at Verve are listening.
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Format: Audio CD
Ostensibly, From the Hot Afternoon is a showcase for a couple of post-Jobim/Gilberto Brazilian song writers and for some new Brazilian instrumental and vocal talent. This sounds like an interesting idea for an album. To be sure, Desmond had a remarkable flair for the bossa nova style. He even recorded an album with Jim Hall in 1962 called Bossa Antigua which contains several of Desmond`s own lovely bossa-style compositions. (This, despite the ruefully punning title, was only two years after Getz and Byrd recorded the ground-breaking Jazz Samba, which introduced American jazz fans to the "new thing" and started a craze in jazz and popular music of the time.)
Anyway, it must have seemed like a good idea to everyone, even as late as 1969, to return for another take on the Brazilian jazz-samba style. Unfortunately, the two featured composers--Milton Nascimento and Edu Lobo--are not remotely in the same league with someone like Antonio Carlos Jobim; nor is the rhythm section (with the exception of Ron Carter on bass) up to the caliber of Jim Hall's guitar and Connie Kay's drums on Bossa Antigua.
But these problems would not alone be enough to completely sink an album featuring the incomparable Paul Desmond.
What does succeed in ruining it, though, is Don Sebesky. For some reason, Sebesky was hired to add light orchestral arrangements ("sweetening" it was called) to many jazz albums that were produced by Creed Taylor in the late 70's-including several other Desmond/CTI releases as well as sessions by other jazz greats. Whether the incorporation of these dreadful over-dubbed orchestrations was a symptom of blatant commercialization, or whether Taylor genuinely thought it constituted some kind of revolutionary pop/jazz/classical fusion, I don't pretend to know.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Stan Getz is forever linked with Brazilian jazz of Jobim and Gilberto, but another smooth saxophonist five years later in 1969 made a similar case for the follow-up generation of Brazilian composers. This album has many merits: Paul Desmond's trademark sweet and dry sound, Airto Moreita superb drum work and percussion, Hubert Laws on flute and Ron Carter on bass, a large studio orchestra, including strings, that provide color and ornamentation, the tunes of Milton Nascimento and Edu Lobo (who also plays lead guitar here), six alternate yet very good takes as bonus tracks, and the sometimes lush arrangements of Don Sebesky, though today they seem dated and with too many fade-outs. A negative is vocalist, Wanda De Sah, who is wasted on one track with off-pitch whispering; she and Lobo vocalise in Circles for added harmonious color. The album is mellow and pleasant, and as the album title suggests, suitable for a hot afternoon, but it lacks any excitement or musical magic. The tracks are short, so there is no stretching out and exploring is limited. (Listen for the Desmond's quick nod to Sonny Stitt's St. Thomas in the track Catavento.) That aside, this is a Paul Desmond album and frequently, thankfully, we relish his swirling saxophone. As a fan of both Brazilian music and the Brubeck-Desmond sound, I am glad to have this album.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A friend referred this disc to me as we discussed American saxophonists who played Brazilian music during the 60s. Having known of Desmond's work with Dave Brubeck, I was very intrigued and purchased the disc after sampling a few tracks here. Must say I was pleasantly surprised. Here we don't find any of Getz's overplaying. Desmond understood what Brazilian music was about, and adapted his style to fit the music he was playing.

Which makes me wonder what would have happened had there been a Desmond/Gilberto disc...
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