10/07/09 By Brenton Plourde
Would The Martini Be Too Dry?
If Paul Desmond were alive today, he would be 84 years old. Would he still play in a mellow tone or would he have retired for good like he originally planned in 1967.
From the man who was content on trading all his rights to Take Five for a used Bronson electric razor and live the life of Dewar’s Scotch and writing his memoir, Desmond would come back again sporadically and tour with Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan and play one off shows with The Modern Jazz Quartet and finally the unofficial Paul Desmond Quartet of 1975 to 1977. Would Desmond still be on the road, playing small clubs around the world like his counterpart Dave Brubeck today?
Would his much talked about book "How Many of You Are There in the Quartet? " finally been finished and have seen the light of day (aside from the one chapter appearing in British humor magazine Punch in 1973).
The year 2009 would have been the 50th anniversary of what is known as the “Classic Quartet” of the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Though Dave Brubeck has moved on and formed newer quartets and has released a steady stream of albums since the breakup of the “Classic Quartet” in 1967, with a few reunions happening throughout the mid 1970s, with a tour and live album in 1976, it is almost certain the “Classic Quartet” of Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Joe Morello and Eugene Wright could get back together this year and play a few special shows. With TIME OUT being played by the current Quartet, songs like "Blue Rondo a la Turk" and Desmond's "Take Five" and the lesser known songs are being played throughout the 2009 Dave Brubeck Quartet tour. The first of these “Time Out” concerts took place (minus Brubeck who was in hospital) at the annual Brubeck Festival in April at the University of the Pacific.
From their first album together as the Classic Quartet, “Gone with the Wind”, Paul Desmond may have needed an extra few breaths to take his solos in the mid 1970s until his death from cancer in 1977, but his music will never be gone with the wind. His wit and love for words would still be alive today, just as the younger generation who are being turned on to his work .This year being the 50th Anniversary of the TIME OUT album – the chance to take five with Paul Desmond today would be leave you wishing you could take ten.
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