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Transcript of Paul Desmond
25th Anniversary Tour Emily Desmond's posthumous royalty earnings from "Take Five" fund the Red Cross, as dictated by his will, and the earnings to date have exceeded $6 million. Desmond routinely warmed up against Joe Morello in 5/4 before concerts, so Brubeck asked him to write a song for their upcoming experimental album "Time Out". "Paul had two themes, but he said he couldn't write a tune.
And I said, 'Look put these two themes together. Make an
AABA form and you're going to have a tune.'" - Dave Brubeck "Time Out" was an experimental album by the Brubeck Quartet that used time signatures besides the regular 4/4, such as 9/8, 5/4, and 3/4. "I have won several prizes as the world's slowest alto player, as well as a special award in 1961 for quietness." - Paul Desmond Of contact lenses: "Not for me. If I want to tune everybody out, I just take off my glasses and enjoy the haze." - Paul Desmond "Writing is like jazz. It can be learned, but it can't be taught." - Paul Desmond "I think I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to sound like a dry martini." - Paul Desmond It was released reluctantly by Columbia Records, and was a smash hit selling more than a million copies. One of the songs "Take Five" became a top 40 single. It was
the only song from the album not written by Brubeck, but
by Desmond instead. Dave Brubeck - Piano Eugene Wright - Bass Joe Morello - Drums Paul Desmond - Alto Sax Desmond and Brubeck originally met in San Francisco, in 1944, when Brubeck tried and failed to audition into an army band to avoid the infantry. They worked again later, and Desmond left Brubeck in an uncomfortable situation: "I left a $100 a week job to play with Paul for $42 for three nights a week and Paul then took a job in the mountains at a place called Feather River and took a different piano player […] So I was without a job, at this point I had two children and I was very angry with one person called Paul Desmond." - Dave Brubeck After hearing Brubeck's Trio on the radio, Desmond came back to see Brubeck in his San Francisco home, and desperately asked to be part of the group promising he'd babysit, wash the car, or do anything else. Brubeck agreed and they formed the Dave Brubeck Quartet. 1951 - 1967 Desmond did just that, and although Desmond thought "It was never supposed to be a hit. It was supposed to be a Joe Morello drum solo," it became the quartet's biggest hit. 1924-1977 Style Desmond was a leading figure of the West Coast "cool" jazz style, in which he used a light an airy tone. He was admired for his gentle tone, exceptional lyricism, and control in the upper register of his horn. His influences included Lester Young and Pete Brown. Desmond originally played clarinet, but later switched to alto saxophone. Many attribute Desmond's fluency in the high register of his sax, to his time as a clarinetist. The Dave Brubeck Quarter split up in 1967 when Brubeck decided to focus more on his composing than touring, and spending time with his family. The members of the quartet went their separate ways. At 47 years old, Desmond went into an unofficial retirement, after Brubeck's Quartet broke up. Desmond didn't play his saxophone for 3 years. During his time off Desmond thought about being a writer, but never truly got around to it. Desmond was eventually coaxed out of his retirement, and began to play again with musicians like guitarist Jim Hall and baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. Desmond lead his own quartet for a while in Toronto. Ed Bickert - Guitar Don Thompson - Bass Jerry Fuller - Drums Paul Desmond - Alto Sax His style was in sharp contrast to the fast, and furious playing of alto saxophonists that preceded him such as Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, and Cannonball Adderly. Paul Desmond died May 30, 1977 of lung cancer. Desmond's heavy smoking eventually caught up with him when he contracted lung cancer. He played his last public performance in February of 1977, determined to finish the tour. "We knew he was getting weaker and weaker. So he just played the second half. And when it came time for the encore, because the whole audience wanted Paul back onstage he said the old cliche "Leave em wanting more." And we didn't go back on." - Dave Brubeck The Brubeck Quartet reunited in1976 for a Silver Anniversary Tour and were greeted well wherever they played. The deteriorating eyesight of Joe Morello cut the tour short. Although it had been 8 years since they had played together, Desmond and Brubeck continued to the same dialogue of trading that they had used before. 1973 - 1976 1976 1967 - 1976 1967 - 1970