THE COMPLETE RCA VICTOR RECORDINGS includes the five solo albums Desmond released on RCA's Bluebird imprint in the early 1960s: DESMOND BLUE, TAKE TEN, GLAD TO BE UNHAPPY, BOSSA ANTIGUA and EASY LIVING. Between 1962 and 1964 Paul Desmond , Dave Brubeck's alto saxophonist (and composer of "Take Five"), recorded five remarkable albums for RCA with guitarist Jim Hall. (Listeners might recall that the inimitable Hall also recorded with Sonny Rollins for RCA during the same period.) Luckily, RCA has seen fit to reissue the Desmond-Hall sessions in an attractive 5-CD box. Of these, only the first session, DESMOND BLUE, was arranged for strings. Otherwise it's just Desmond and Hall, a few good bass players and the great MJQ drummer Connie Kay, whom Desmond long revered for his subtle touch.
Although Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond made many rewarding recordings together, this was their only duo album; it was inspired by several duo performances on board a cruise ship. Their magical ESP is evident from start to finish. Brubeck's lyricism throughout these sessions will surprise critics who label him as "bombastic," while Desmond, known for his pure dry-toned alto sax, throws a few curves to his longtime fans.
A great Capitol moment from pianist Paul Smith – an artist who really cut some of his best material ever for the label ! The Smith sound is at the height of its powers here in the late 50s — kind of a blend of jazz and more easy-going pianistic modes — often stretched out with lots of flourishes by Smith on the keys, but never the too-flowery styles used by some of his contemporaries ! Instead, Paul keeps things nice and lean — always enough to be plenty swinging in all the right moments — with quartet help from Barney Kessel on guitar, Joe Mondragon on bass, and Stan Levey on drums.