Paul Desmond

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Paul Desmond
LABELS: Sony Mastersound
WORKS: Pure Desmond
PERFORMER: Paul Desmond (as); Ed Bickert (g); Ron Carter (b); Connie Kay (d)
One of the true originals on his instrument, Desmond possessed an unhurried lyricism that set him apart in the modernist era with its emphasis on technical zeal. A player whose work could truly be said to be poetic in conception, he was one of just a few improvisers in jazz who could sustain a cogent flow of melodically original ideas over several choruses while remaining free from repetition, cliché, habit or pattern-running. Away from his long-time associate, Dave Brubeck, he was a stickler for passive rhythm sections, so as not to be blown off course by the intrusion of other people’s ideas into his private musical universe. Here, the accomplished Canadian guitarist Ed Bickert moves in delicate concentric circles around his alto to produce graceful, timeless jazz of the first order. A special note about the sound: Columbia’s 20-bit mapping (as opposed to the industry norm of 16-bit mapping) is quite superb. At last CD sound comes of age. Stuart Nicholson