Jazz legend Paul Desmond was born on this day in 1924. Desmond grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and met his musical partner Dave Brubeck in the mid-1940s. The two started playing professionally together, had a brief falling out, and then rejoined forces by the early 1950s to create what would become one of the most successful bands in Jazz history, The Dave Brubeck Quartet. Their seminal album, Time Out (1959) went on to sell more than two million copies. His sound established a new standard of "cool" in the late 50s and early 60s. The Brubecks featured in my family history in CT, so I always felt a special affinity to the music. There have been many great Jazz musicians, but Paul Desmond has always been a personal favorite of mine. He had a special way of crafting his solos like a sensual, fluid journey. His saxophone sang in beautiful, lyrical grooves, and I still love to ride his waves of sonic inspiration. Paul Desmond also recorded a number of classic albums with artists Gerry Mulligan and Jim Hall- all highly recommended. He also loved the pleasures of the world and his smoking habit finally caught up with him. He passed away in 1977 at the early age of 52. For more info, check out the fabulous coffee table book, Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond. Below: capturing the ultra cool Desmond on film. Enjoy!
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