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ghost of miles

"After Brubeck: Paul Desmond 1968-1977"

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This week's Night Lights show focuses on the recordings that saxophonist Paul Desmond made after the Dave Brubeck Quartet broke up at the end of 1967.  Desmond biographer Doug Ramsey joins me to talk about Desmond's life and music in those years, and we'll hear recordings that Desmond made as both a leader and a sideman with Chet Baker and the Modern Jazz Quartet, as well as a reunion duet with Brubeck:

After Brubeck: Paul Desmond 1968-1977

 

Edited by ghost of miles

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An excellent and enjoyable podcast. Desmond is one of my favorite alto sax players of all time. Having heard the show, I now want to dig out some of my Desmond CDs and give them a listen. 

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Glad you enjoyed it, mikelz777.  Did you see this thread yet?  Jsngry's comments inspired me to pull out those early 1950s Desmond/Brubeck Fantasy CDs that he mentions for some weekend listening.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the broadcast too especially with the discussion going on in that other thread . Thanks for posting 

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Love his bossa stuff.  I've often wondered how the Getz and Gilberto album would have turned out if it had been Desmond and Gilberto. 

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That's an interesting thought.  I can't imagine it would be worse and it could very well have been better.  Not to denigrate Getz, but I think Desmond's style may have been better suited to the music. 

Edited by Dave James

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53 minutes ago, Dave James said:

That's an interesting thought.  I can't imagine it would be worse and it could very well have been better.  Not to denigrate Getz, but I think Desmond's style may have been better suited to the music. 

Yes, exactly.

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Desmond's playing didn't have the casual aggression needed to make a Top 40 hit. And I know you're thinking "Take Five", but I've hear it said that what made that a hit was the piano riff, the bridge, and the drum solo.

And truthfully, I can't see Getz and Astrud Gilberto working as well as Getz/Astrud, even on a musical level. Desmond was too "smart" for her, not enough contrast.

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7 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Desmond's playing didn't have the casual aggression needed to make a Top 40 hit. And I know you're thinking "Take Five", but I've hear it said that what made that a hit was the piano riff, the bridge, and the drum solo.

And truthfully, I can't see Getz and Astrud Gilberto working as well as Getz/Astrud, even on a musical level. Desmond was too "smart" for her, not enough contrast.

I don't know, as someone who listens to a lot of real bossa, I see Desmond's style as being much more simpatico to the music's overall vibe and mood.  Getz's comes off as too angry and disjointed for bossa, to my ears, at least.

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Well, sure. But that's why the damn thing was such a hit. People who didn't know "real bossa" liked it, and there was (and probably still are) a lot more of them in America than those who did.

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Just now, JSngry said:

Well, sure. But that's why the damn thing was such a hit. People who didn't know "real bossa" liked it, and there was (and probably still are) a lot more of them in America than those who did.

We can't go back in time, at least not yet, to test the theory.  Regardless, bossa's time had come and it was already beginning to make a dent in the US prior to Getz/Gilberto.  "Girl from Ipanema" was a hit because of the song, Astrud, Joao, and Stan Getz, in that order.  Desmond would have also had a little more name recognition with the general public at that time than Stan Getz, who to my knowledge did not have a hit record. 

"Getz and Gilberto" was a bossa nova gateway drug for me and certainly a lot of other gringos.  But hundreds of Elenco and Philips records later, I can't even begin to listen to it now.  Getz sounds all wrong.  If others enjoy it, that's fine, but I'm finished with it. 

I'd love to hear what Desmond would have done if he had been on Verve at that time. 

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Stan Getz was already pretty well-know past the hardcore jazz audience, and had been in varying degrees since "Early Autumn" (or so the conventional wisdom has had it ever since I first looked in on it). As far as Ipanema, I was a kid with Top 40 going non-stop, and the thing I most distinctly remembering about it was that !) it was the quietest damn thing on the air, like a Fleetwoods recod on mute; and 2) Astrud, and then Astrud some more. Hearing THAT come out of nowhere on the Top 40 AM radio when you're 9...a bit of a mondfuck.

I'm glad Desmond was not on Verve at the time, he'd never have made those sublime records with Jim Hall (and there you go, Jim Hall and Desmond fit like a glove, and good luck getting a hit record out of that, and/although I don't see where RCA even tried)). And as it is, he got his turn with Creed Taylor a bit later, and it was magnificent.

I  bought that Getz Bossa Nova Years set, and noticed a weird pattern of the records alternating between sublime and cheesy. I'm much more of a Desmond fan than a Getz one, but when Getz was in the good zone, I love it, and when he's not, it's annoying as fuck. And that's true for me of all his records, not just the bossa ones.

24 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

Regardless, bossa's time had come and it was already beginning to make a dent in the US prior to Getz/Gilberto. 

Wait, hold on,now...

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Gold record in a day when that meant something!

 

That reminds me...I found a redneck diner (not truck stop, diner, greasy spoon, in Garland, Tx) ca. 1978 that still had "Desafinado" on the jukebox...it was pretty funny (and one time a little scary)  what happened to the "ambiance" of the joint when I played it the few times I dared. always late-night.

I miss original jukeboxes, the ones that only replaced some of the records, those were fun as fuck, especially the ones with selectors in your booth, so you could select anonymously.

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10 hours ago, Teasing the Korean said:

Love his bossa stuff.  I've often wondered how the Getz and Gilberto album would have turned out if it had been Desmond and Gilberto. 

well, for one thing, a few more marriages would have stayed intact.

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13 hours ago, JSngry said:

Stan Getz was already pretty well-know past the hardcore jazz audience, and had been in varying degrees since "Early Autumn" (or so the conventional wisdom has had it ever since I first looked in on it). As far as Ipanema, I was a kid with Top 40 going non-stop, and the thing I most distinctly remembering about it was that !) it was the quietest damn thing on the air, like a Fleetwoods recod on mute; and 2) Astrud, and then Astrud some more. Hearing THAT come out of nowhere on the Top 40 AM radio when you're 9...a bit of a mondfuck.

I'm glad Desmond was not on Verve at the time, he'd never have made those sublime records with Jim Hall (and there you go, Jim Hall and Desmond fit like a glove, and good luck getting a hit record out of that, and/although I don't see where RCA even tried)). And as it is, he got his turn with Creed Taylor a bit later, and it was magnificent.

I  bought that Getz Bossa Nova Years set, and noticed a weird pattern of the records alternating between sublime and cheesy. I'm much more of a Desmond fan than a Getz one, but when Getz was in the good zone, I love it, and when he's not, it's annoying as fuck. And that's true for me of all his records, not just the bossa ones.

Wait, hold on,now...

Gold record in a day when that meant something!

That reminds me...I found a redneck diner (not truck stop, diner, greasy spoon, in Garland, Tx) ca. 1978 that still had "Desafinado" on the jukebox...it was pretty funny (and one time a little scary)  what happened to the "ambiance" of the joint when I played it the few times I dared. always late-night.

I miss original jukeboxes, the ones that only replaced some of the records, those were fun as fuck, especially the ones with selectors in your booth, so you could select anonymously.

Yes, sorry, I'd forgotten that "Desafinado" pre-dated "Ipanema."

I realize that I am probably being harsh on Stan Getz.  But the last two times I tried to play that album - on CD - I would listen to Joao sing the choruses, and when the sax solos came, I just skipped to the next track.  Maybe it's me and not Getz.

Brubeck was one of those jazz artists whom you were likely to find in the record collections of mid-century listeners who were not jazz fans.  You would find Sinatra, West Side Story, and if there was a jazz album, it was likely to be Brubeck, or Erroll Garner, or MJQ.  I do think there would have been at least a tangential recognition of Desmond at that time.

But I agree, I would hate to lose those Desmond RCA albums with Jim Hall, and the subsequent stuff on CTI.

5 hours ago, AllenLowe said:

well, for one thing, a few more marriages would have stayed intact.

:lol:

14 hours ago, JSngry said:

That reminds me...I found a redneck diner (not truck stop, diner, greasy spoon, in Garland, Tx) ca. 1978 that still had "Desafinado" on the jukebox...it was pretty funny (and one time a little scary)  what happened to the "ambiance" of the joint when I played it the few times I dared. always late-night.

You won't believe this, but I read this part last night while I was watching Monte Hellman's Two-Lane Blacktop with James Taylor and Dennis Wilson.  It was the perfect complement to the on-screen action!

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Upon reflection, I think why I don't think that Desmond/Gilberto would have worked as well is as simple as vocal range. Both Gilbertos ranges were lower than Desmond's alto (especially with his tone), and I don't know that being on top of that mix would be as, uh, "narcotic" a mix as one right in there with them, especially the way Taylor was EQ-ing the Verve dates in those days.

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3 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Upon reflection, I think why I don't think that Desmond/Gilberto would have worked as well is as simple as vocal range. Both Gilbertos ranges were lower than Desmond's alto (especially with his tone), and I don't know that being on top of that mix would be as, uh, "narcotic" a mix as one right in there with them, especially the way Taylor was EQ-ing the Verve dates in those days.

I did consider alto/tenor ranges, but it seems that Getz is playing in a relatively higher register throughout.  I wonder how different it would have been if Desmond played in a lower register, which would have reinforced the bossa aesthetic.

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Then that would not be Paul Desmond!!!!!

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14 hours ago, Teasing the Korean said:

True, dat.

Here's Paul Desmond with Jim Hall on guitar playing "Bossa Antiqua and, at a lower register.  Don't know about you, but to me, this sounds a whole lot like Stan Getz.

 

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8 hours ago, Dave James said:

Here's Paul Desmond with Jim Hall on guitar playing "Bossa Antiqua and, at a lower register.  Don't know about you, but to me, this sounds a whole lot like Stan Getz.

I have (and love) that album, but I'm not hearing Stan Getz in it.  I realize that we all pick up on different things while we're listening. 

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