Paul Desmond

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Dave Brubeck (l.) And Paul Desmond (Photo: Carl van Vechten )

Paul Desmond (born November 25, 1924 in San Francisco , California , † May 30, 1977 in New York City ; actually Paul Emil Breitenfeld ) was an American cool jazz saxophonist.

life and work

He became known through the Dave Brubeck Quartet (he wrote its biggest hit Take Five ), in which he played from its formation in 1951 to 1967. It had a clear, light, flowing sound that many tried in vain to imitate. He loved gentle ballads and sometimes slipped into dreamy solos, but always had a clear line. The interaction of his light, airy style with Brubeck's heavy, polytonal piano playing contributed much to the success of the classic Dave Brubeck Quartet .

Desmond also worked with Gerry Mulligan and Jim Hall , among others . In 1967, after leaving Brubeck's quartet, he paused for a while and later appeared at times in reunions with Brubeck, Mulligan, Hall, Ed Bickert and others; In 1971 he played a Christmas concert with the Modern Jazz Quartet . His ability to improvise counterpart is perhaps best heard on the two albums he recorded with Gerry Mulligan ( Mulligan-Desmond Quartet and Two of a Mind ). In 1977 he was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame .

Aside from playing, he was known for his witty manner, as evidenced by the liner notes of his solo albums and the memories of others. For a couple of years it was rumored that he was writing an autobiography, but it never appeared. After he was diagnosed with lung cancer, he ironically expressed his satisfaction with the condition of his liver: “Pristine, one of the great livers of our time. Awash in Dewar's and full of health. ”(“ Immaculate, one of the greatest livers of our time. Flooded with Dewar's [Scottish whiskey] and in excellent health. ”) He gave his last concert with Brubeck in February 1977 in New York City. Little did the audience know that he was terminally ill. Desmond died of lung cancer that same year and bequeathed his entire legacy, including the huge royalties for Take Five, to the Red Cross .


"It was the rhythm of the machine that suggested it to me, and I really only wrote it to get back the money that I lost there."

- Paul Desmond


year album leader Label
1950 The Dave Brubeck Octet Dave Brubeck Fantasy Records
1951 Brubeck / Desmond Dave Brubeck Fantasy Records
1951 Jazz At Storyville Dave Brubeck Fantasy Records
1951 Modern Complex Dialogues Dave Brubeck Alto Records
1951 How Long, Baby How Long, Pt. 1 & 2 Jack Sheedy Coronet Records
1951 The Man I Love c / w Down In Honkytonk Town Jack Sheedy Coronet
1952 Jazz At the Blackhawk Dave Brubeck Fantasy
1952 The Dave Brubeck Quartet Dave Brubeck Fantasy
1953 Jazz at Oberlin Dave Brubeck Fantasy
1953 Jazz at the College of the Pacific Dave Brubeck Fantasy
1954 Dave Brubeck At Storyville 1954 Dave Brubeck Columbia Records
1954 Jazz Goes to College Dave Brubeck Columbia
1954 Brubeck Time Dave Brubeck Columbia
1954 Gerry Mulligan / Paul Desmond Gerry Mulligan & Paul Desmond Fantasy
1955 Jazz: Red Hot and Cool Dave Brubeck Columbia
1955 Chet Baker Quartet Plus: The Newport Years, Vol. 1 Chet Baker Philology Records
1956 The Paul Desmond Quartet With Don Elliott Paul Desmond Fantasy
1956-57 Dave Brubeck Quartet Live In 1956–57 Featuring Paul Desmond Dave Brubeck Jazz band
1956 Live From Basin Street Dave Brubeck Jazz band
1956 Jazz Impressions Of USA Dave Brubeck Columbia
1957 Reunion Dave Brubeck with Dave Van Kriedt Fantasy
1957 Jazz Goes To Junior College Dave Brubeck Columbia
1957 Dave Digs Disney Dave Brubeck Columbia
1957 Blues in Time Gerry Mulligan & Paul Desmond Verve Records
1958 In Europe Dave Brubeck Quartet Columbia
1958 Newport 1958 Dave Brubeck Columbia
1958 Jazz Impressions Of Eurasia Dave Brubeck Columbia
1959 Gone With the Wind Dave Brubeck Columbia
1959 Time out Dave Brubeck Columbia
1959 St. Louis Blues Dave Brubeck Moon Records
1959 First place again! Paul Desmond Warner Bros. Records
1960 Southern Scene Dave Brubeck Columbia
1960 Brubeck and Rushing Dave Brubeck w / Jimmy Rushing Columbia
1960 Bernstein Plays Brubeck Plays Bernstein Dave Brubeck with Leonard Bernstein Columbia Records
1960 Tonight Only with Carmen McRae Dave Brubeck Columbia
1961 Time Further Out Dave Brubeck Columbia
61, 63, 64 The Complete Recordings Of The Paul Desmond Quartet With Jim Hall Paul Desmond Mosaic Records
1961 Take Five With Carmen McRae Dave Brubeck Columbia
1961 Desmond Blue with Jim Hall Paul Desmond RCA Victor
1962 Countdown - Time In Outer Space Dave Brubeck Columbia
1962 Bossa Nova USA Dave Brubeck Columbia
1962 Brandenburg Gate Revisited Dave Brubeck Columbia
1962 Late lament Paul Desmond RCA / Bluebird Records
1962 Paul Desmond / Gerry Mulligan - Two Of A Mind Desmond & Mulligan RCA Victor
1962 Brubeck In Amsterdam Dave Brubeck Columbia
1963 The Dave Brubeck Quartet At Carnegie Hall Dave Brubeck Quartet Columbia
1963 Take Ten with Jim Hall Paul Desmond RCA Victor
63, 64, 65 Easy living Paul Desmond RCA Victor
1963 Glad To Be Unhappy Paul Desmond RCA Victor
1963 Time changes Dave Brubeck Columbia
1964 Jazz Impressions of Japan Dave Brubeck Columbia
1964 Jazz Impressions of New York Dave Brubeck Columbia
1964 In concert 1964 Dave Brubeck Jazz connoisseur
1964 Bossa Antigua Paul Desmond RCA Victor
1964 Dave Brubeck In Berlin Dave Brubeck CBS Records
1965 The Canadian Concert Of Dave Brubeck Dave Brubeck Can-Am Records
1965 Angel eyes Dave Brubeck Columbia
1965 My Favorite Things Dave Brubeck Columbia
1965 Time in Dave Brubeck Columbia
1966 Anything Goes! Dave Brubeck Columbia
1966 The Quartet Dave Brubeck Europe jazz
1966 Jackpot! Dave Brubeck Columbia
1967 Bravo! Brubeck! Dave Brubeck Columbia
1967 Buried Treasures Dave Brubeck Columbia / Legacy
1967 Take Five Live Dave Brubeck Jazz Music Yesterday
1967 The Last Time We Saw Paris Dave Brubeck Columbia
1968 Summertime Paul Desmond A&M Records
1969 From The Hot Afternoon Paul Desmond AT THE
1969 From The Hot Afternoon Paul Desmond verve
1969 Bridge Over Troubled Water Paul Desmond AT THE
1971 The Only Recorded Performance Of Paul Desmond With The Modern Jazz Quartet Paul Desmond Finesse Records
1972 We're All Together Again For The First Time Dave Brubeck / Gerry Mulligan / Paul Desmond Atlantic Records
1973 Skylark Paul Desmond CTI Records
1973 Giant Box ("Song to a Seagull", "Vocalise") Don Sebesky CTI
1974 She Was Too Good To Me Chet Baker CTI
1974 Pure Desmond Paul Desmond CTI
1975 Like Someone In Love Paul Desmond Telarc Records
1975 Concierto Jim Hall CTI
1975 1975: The Duets Dave Brubeck / Paul Desmond Horizon Records
1975 The Paul Desmond Quartet Live Paul Desmond Horizon
1976 25th Anniversary Reunion Dave Brubeck Horizon
1977 You Can't Go Home Again Chet Baker Horizon
1977 The Best Thing For You Chet Baker AT THE



  • Doug Ramsey : Take Five - the public and private lives of Paul Desmond (preface by Dave and Iola Brubeck), Parkside Publications, Seattle 2005.

film records

  • Dave Brubeck Live in '64 & '66 , Jazz Icons 2007, DVD 119005. Contains an English booklet, five recordings from 1964 from Belgium, five recordings from 1966 from Germany. Black and white film with very good sound quality.
  • Dave Brubeck & Paul Desmond Take Five Salt Peanuts , DVD 4417. 50 minutes mono recording. Five recordings from 1961, one recording from 1975 from the Monterey open-air stage with aircraft noise in the background, three bonus tracks without Brubeck and Desmond.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Paul Desmond Discography., accessed December 8, 2009 .
  2. ^ Paul Desmond: 'The Sound of a Dry Martini'., accessed December 8, 2009 .
  3. Quoted from H. Broder , Jewish calendar 2009–2010 , May 31, 2010/18. Siwan 5770. Paul Desmond refers to a slot machine in Reno, which is said to have inspired him to his biggest hit "Take Five"

Web links

Commons : Paul Desmond  - Collection of images, videos and audio files