Paul Desmond
FameRank: 5

"Paul Desmond" was an American jazz alto saxophone/alto saxophonist and composer, best known for the work he did in the Dave Brubeck Quartet and for composing that group's greatest hit, "Take Five". He was one of the most popular musicians to come out of the West Coast jazz/West Coast's cool jazz scene.

In addition to his work with Dave Brubeck/Brubeck, he led several of his own groups and did significant collaborations with artists such as Gerry Mulligan, Jim Hall (musician)/Jim Hall and Chet Baker. After years of chain smoking and general poor health, Desmond succumbed to lung cancer in 1977 following one last tour with Brubeck.

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We used to get on planes, and they'd ask who we were, and we'd say, 'The Dave Brubeck Quartet', and they'd say, 'Who?' In later years they'd say, 'Oh', which amounts to the same thing.

I felt a responsibility to all other newsletter publishers.

I think I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted it to sound like a dry martini.

The qualities in music I considered most important -- and still do -- were beauty, simplicity, originality, discrimination, and sincerity.

I would also like to thank my father who discouraged me from playing the violin at an early age.

I was overlooked long before anyone knew who I was.

Complexity can be a trap. You can have a ball developing a phrase, inverting it, playing it in different keys and times and all. But it's really more introspective than communicative. Like a crossword puzzle compared to a poem.