Music: Live

The Paul Desmond Quartet

The composer of Take Five claimed he wanted his alto saxophone to sound like a dry martini. Desmond's wish came true on this 1975 cool-jazz masterpiece, finally available on CD after two decades in limbo. Backed up by Canadian super-guitarist Ed Bickert, Desmond, who died in 1977, spins out long, pungent melodic lines that float through the air with luminous grace. Best of all is a slyly witty version of Things Ain't What They Used to Be that would have made Duke Ellington grin.

--By Terry Teachout


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