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Paul Desmond Quartet Live Live

4.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Live, November 21, 2000
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 21, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B00004ST3S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,520 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By J. B Brent on January 1, 2001
Format: Audio CD
At long last the Verve label, in a series we hope will continue for a long time, has reissued PAUL DESMOND QUARTET LIVE. This album of live performances recorded in Toronto, Canada, was originally released as a double record set by A&M/Horizon (SP 850/Horizon 10) in 1976. The other players were Ed Bickert (guitar), Jerry Fuller (drums) and Don Thompson (acoustic bass). Smooth and heavenly renditions of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Wave" and Luis Bonfa's "Manha De Carnival" are particularly nice. This reissue was held up momentarily by the legalities of adding the final bonus track. Other live recordings from Desmond's post-Brubeck solo days are said to exist. Perhaps these will be offered in the future. Meanwhile, buy this one and support the Verve/A&M reissue effort, which has been a tremendous public service to all jazz fans.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Jazz can mean many things and the definitions vary from person to person. This recording is one of my favorite examples of the "Cool Jazz" that happened in the fifties and sixties.

Preserving the genre into the mid 1970s Paul Desmond stands out as a brilliant leader able to present a beautifully finished product in this classic setting. Recorded in a club setting you can hear the occasional clinking of glassware in the background although crowd noise is never a problem. The effect is to make one wish they had been there experiencing this performance in person. Thankfully the recording does a wonderful job of preserving the overall effect of this jazz master's later years.

Ed Bickert's guitar work is outstanding, an example few well known jazz guitarists can even approach. His harmonic content and control is nothing short of incredible. His solos tend to be chord based and unique to him.

In my humble opinion this is jazz at its best, mellow, warm and unobtrusive yet never boring. If you love cool jazz you will very likely love this recording.
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Format: Audio CD
This is 79 minutes of very lovely, mostly mellow jazz from the excellent sax player and composer Paul Desmond, recorded live less than two years before his death from lung cancer. He is well supported here by guitar, bass and drums. His elongated version of his own famous "Take Five" comes out quite different than it was on the Dave Brubeck Quartet's "Time Out" recording which made the song and Desmond famous. This was originally issued as a double-LP in 1975, eight years after Brubeck's quartet disbanded. Here, Desmond is the leader, and there is no piano. His saxophone and Ed Bickert's guitar both offer many, many minutes of beauty, and the bass of Don Thompson and drums of Jerry Fuller get a little attention as well. This music is closer to "smooth jazz" than to the energetic deliveries of Coltrane or Rollins, yet it is never boring, never pedestrian enough to qualify as "background" music. You really can't help but like this a lot. It's the kind of album you want if you have a 90-minute drive to make on a crisp autumn day, alone (or two 45-minute segments for the round trip!) It also would set a great romantic mood if you were cooking for your loved one and hoped for cuddling after dessert. The extensive and fascinating liner notes are an added bonus, and tell the owner quite a bit about the kind of mind Paul Desmond had...witty and likeable.
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Format: Audio CD
Sure, it's a cliche, but this would be the jazz CD that I'd want with me on a desert island. This album has it all! The horn work is flawless. Desmond's improvised lines come across as complete statments, thought out, but never sounding pre-planned. His solo on 'Wave' has some astounding lines while his composition entitled 'Wendy' has developed a cult following of its own.
Being a guitarist I naturally am very interested in Ed Bickert's work. Filling the slot once occupied by Jim Hall would be daunting, but the guitar work on this album is more than adequate for the task. Mr. Bickert can improvise melodies in chord form that would be difficult to play as single-note lines. I simply have never heard anything quite like it.
Don Thompson holds down the bottom end with inventiveness and creativity while never sacrficing his reliability. His solos are tastefull and complete. He fits in well with the rest of the group and makes a solid contribution.
Jerry Fuller is up to the challenge of holding together the rhythms of this quartet. This drummer is never obtrusive but always present. Substance prevails over pyrotechnics.
Iv'e owned a copy of this album since '77 and still listen to it often. After all of this time there are still gems that jump out of a solo and amaze me. Putting this out on CD was truly a service to the jazz community.
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Format: Audio CD
I should state a personal bias before writing this review: I am practically a Paul Desmond completist. Like many other Desmond fans, this was an album that I owned on vinyl for a few years and nearly wore out from listening to it so much. This is Desmond in his final days with his final quartet, which fit him like an old comfortable shoe. These songs are long and moody, often with long, pretty guitar solos by Ed Bickert and plenty of accomplished bass solos as well. What I love about this album is that Desmond plays some of his favorite songs here, and he plays them with so much emotion its enough to make one cry. This is Desmond at his best: emotional but not whiney. It's a great album, and a real treat for Desmond fans. Since it's so cool and down-tempo though, the new Paul Desmond fan may want to start else where, but for those familiar with his catalogue this is considered one of the most cherished recordings out there.
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