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 Paul Desmond
Author: Jack Nelson 
Date:   2019-06-06 22:33

Paul Desmond has always been one of my favorite jazz saxophonists. Have any jazz clarinetists attempted to duplicate his breathy, understated style?

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: DougR 
Date:   2019-06-06 23:41

Nobody I know of.

Here's a track where Gerry Mulligan kind of comes close, probably not purposely. (He was NOT a clarinet player, and it sounds like a s***** reed.) He just plays intro and outtro, so this doesn't really count. It is a nice track, though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70BQ-JYTjOw

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-06-07 01:27

You may want to check out Brad Terry, who deserves a much wider recognition. He lives in Maine and is pretty well known up there. You can find a few things of his on youtube and there are some recordings out there

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx52aqXKXrQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qk6MRDbMcLs

For a player who is more widely known, try Jimmy Giuffre.



Post Edited (2019-06-07 03:27)

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2019-06-07 02:20

Jimmy Giuffre:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fc9dn4uE_ww

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: Jack Nelson 
Date:   2019-06-07 03:52

Thank you, DougR, Ed and Liquorice. These are wonderful examples.

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: DougR 
Date:   2019-06-07 06:30

If you can find Eddie Daniels' "Blackwood," I remember his version of "East of the Sun" that is a sort of medium tempo, and his sound is very VERY warm; not as burry as Desmond and not exactly with Desmond's lyricism, but still very lyrical.

Big YES to Brad Terry, too. Especially any of the recordings he did with Lenny Breau, an astonishing (and legendary) guitarist.

I'll have to remember to ask someone who knows how Desmond got the sound he got. There was no one remotely like him, in sound or conception.

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-06-07 16:12

Brad has done a number of really nice things, including some great duo work with pianist Joachim Mencel and recordings with guitarist Jarek Smietana.

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: jim sclater 
Date:   2019-06-07 16:47

It was so nice to hear the Jimmy Giuffre cut. He's one of my clarinet heroes. Such an imagination. I read somewhere that he used the A clarinet most of the time when he played with Jim Hall et al. It made the comfortable string keys easier to navigate. Listening to his version of Mac the Knife done with Hall seems to confirm this assertion. Also the cut posted by "Liquorice" sounds like it's in the key of A which would support the idea, too.

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-06-07 17:42

I heard a recording of Paul Desmond on the radio playing...clarinet. I wish I could get my hands on it. What I remember is that he sounded like...Paul Desmond playing clarinet.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2019-06-07 19:32

>> Jimmy Giuffre <<

Beautiful. Who is the piano player? Especially good.

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: brycon 
Date:   2019-06-07 21:58

Quote:

Paul Desmond has always been one of my favorite jazz saxophonists. Have any jazz clarinetists attempted to duplicate his breathy, understated style?


Really, the three big altoists to emerge out of Bird's shadow and do something different were Lee Konitz, Art Pepper, and Paul Desmond. And out of those three, Lee Konitz, for me, was the only one really to get away from Bird. The three of them get clumped together because of the raspy and "dark" tone quality. Lee, though, is a different sort of player. If you haven't already, check him out; his trio album, Motion, is brilliant.

At any rate, Art Pepper began as a clarinetist and recorded some on the instrument: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kisw50RQvXw

That whole album, Art Pepper + Eleven, is great and features a couple of clarinet tunes.



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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: Ralph Katz 
Date:   2019-06-08 00:26

There is at least one album of Jerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond playing together, just bass and drums with them, called "Two of a Mind". Jerry is right there with the same light touch on bari. I think it was a wonderful bunch of sessions.

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2019-06-08 00:32

There's a lot of folks out there who can/do play in a breathy, understated style from time to time, but I don't know of any who attempted to duplicate Paul Desmond's style.

Edmond Hall had a beautiful, breathy and understated style when he wanted to.

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-06-08 09:24

Every time I listen to Paul Desmond I am reminded that he was a pretty awesome musician, I'd go as far as to say a genius. I often teach Raggy Waltz, and play my students 2 or 3 different versions, each one bringing surprises.

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-06-08 16:59

The breathy quality of some of Desmond's improvisations is more of an incidental occurrence than an essential part of his style. Tony Scott in his earlier years often got a very breathy quality but seldom came close to the intricate, geometrical patterns typical of Desmond's melodic development. Eddie Daniels can be very breathy but seldom achieves the unity of understated but compelling motive development one can take for granted in Desmond's playing--the minute attention to design and fine detailing. Jon Delucia explores some of the ways Desmond was able to spin out such patterns in a series of articles and a practice book he has written.

See https://www.jondelucia.com/bach-intervallic-sequences-paul-desmond.

https://www.jondelucia.com/bach-intervallic-sequences-paul-desmond-part-2

https://www.jondelucia.com/bach-intervallic-sequences-paul-desmond-part-3.

Sorry about the security warnings on these websites. You can also reach
them by googling jon delucia bach intervalic sequence and paul desmond.

Artie Shaw in his solos on Stardust, and Where or When, for example, reaches lyrical heights of melodic development seldom equaled by other jazz players but he does it sans the breathy quality. What he does with the melodic line seems to me to be closer to what a Desmond-inspired clarinetist might aspire to--with or without the added breathiness.



Post Edited (2019-06-08 18:31)

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-06-08 18:18

Dear Seabreeze, I suppose there is no point in trying to sound like, or phrase like, Paul Desmond because like any true original, he was inimitable; perhaps more inimitable than anybody else. I met him once and remember that he was a chain-smoker (he died of lung cancer), hit the bottle pretty hard and was very intellectual and witty. He was on the road about 340 days a year and at the end, had had enough of it and gave up playing alogether for two or three years. When he came back, he sounded more beautiful and fresher than ever. He needed to get away from the Dave Brubeck context, though he continued playing with Brubeck off and on until the end. I met him him through Johnny Hodges, who had tremendous admiration for him. The two had more in common than one would readily think: namely, the effortless lyricism.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-06-08 18:40

True that attempts at literal imitation of Desmond would accomplish little. But music theory students may profitably study the chorales of Bach, not to write imitations, but to learn much from one of the masters about the intricacies of voice leading--even if they conclude from the effort that they do not want to lead the voices in any way similar to the way Bach did. The exercises make them familiar with the nuts and bolts of melodic entries and exits, tension and resolution, and other fine points that may have gone unnoticed had they not subjected Bach's work to such prolonged and minute scrutiny. Analytical study of the details of Desmond's lyricism may be a charmed way into finding one's own lyrical improvisatory voice.

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: JEG 2017
Date:   2019-06-08 19:39

The Gerry Mulligan track comes off an album called "Gerry Mulligan '63 The Concert Jazz Band." There's another track on the album called "Pretty Little Gypsy" where he plays clarinet throughout. I had a teacher who lent me the album when I was in the 9th grade in 1965 and I recorded it onto reel-to-reel tape. A few years ago I was finally able to buy the CD. I like his clarinet sound on both tracks.

I've heard recordings of Lester Young playing clarinet. It sound like Lester Young on clarinet - very good and definitely his style. I hear these recordings every August 27th when WKCR in New York has the Lester Young Birthday Broadcast.

Other alto players who, in my opinion, got out from under the shadow of Bird: Cannonball Adderly, Sonny Stitt, Phil Woods, Jackie McLean, Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman. Gene Quill was the lead alto in Gerry Mulligan's Concert Jazz Band, also excellent. They all had individual sounds and styles.

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-06-08 23:08

Paul Desmond was, for years, hard at work on his memoires entitled: "How many of you are there in your quartet?" He doesn't seem to have ever completed or published it.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2019-06-09 04:43

Here is another example of Gerry Mulligan...not a virtuoso on clarinet, but a nice chilled out jazzy tone
https://youtu.be/ElyZpwVC_IE

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: Jack Nelson 
Date:   2019-06-09 20:05

seabreeze, thank you for your many insightful comments regarding Paul Desmond.

After reading this comment of yours, "True that attempts at literal imitation of Desmond would accomplish little.", I'm thinking I should have chosen my wording more carefully regarding my question, "Have any jazz clarinetists attempted to duplicate his breathy, understated style?" I should have said, "Are there any other jazz clarinetists with a similar breathy, understated style?" I fully agree that any musician should focus on finding his/her own unique voice, not merely imitating another performer.

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-06-10 01:07

The player definitely makes the sound. Bechet is bold, brassy, and bossy like no clarinetist before or after him. Nobody else could get away with that vibrato of his but he makes it uniquely convincing. Bigard has a poignant even mournful kind of velvet darkness that is equally unique. And nobody has ever gotten either the driving, focused intensity of Goodman or the fluid cosmopolitanism of Shaw in a world teeming with imitators. Desmond is just Desmond; I'd love to hear that tape of him playing clarinet that Ruben mentioned if anybody can find it. Someone will come along with a breezy, breathy, intimate stye on clarinet that we have never heard before and make music with it. But my guess is that even that person will not sound like Desmond. On trumpet, Louis is Louis, Clifford, Clifford, and Miles, Miles; the plenitude of imitators never supplants the original.



Post Edited (2019-06-10 03:47)

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 Re: Paul Desmond
Author: Jack Nelson 
Date:   2019-06-11 19:31

What a great discussion! . . . an excellent example of why this forum is such a success. Thank you for sharing.

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