We may as well keep the Desmond string running through the weekend. After the Dave Brubeck Quartet disbanded at the end of 1967, Desmond did not play for more than a year. It wasn’t a matter of simply not performing in public or not recording. He did not take his saxophone out of the case, allegedly concentrating on writing How Many Of You Are There In The Quartet? the book that never happened. He also lolled around in the Caribbean. Toward the end of 1968, he relented to the extent of recording for the A&M label’s Horizon subsidiary. He was existing comfortably on his invested quartet earnings and the royalties from “Take Five,” but in the early seventies something within told him that he needed the gratification of regular playing. He began appearing as a guest with Brubeck’s reconstituted quartet or with Dave and his sons in the Two Generations Of Brubeck group. The Desmond interregnum period is covered in (here comes the shameless book plug) Chapter 29 of Take Five: The Public And Private Lives Of Paul Desmond.
Brubeck had taken less time to succumb again to the compulsion to play jazz. He continued to write his long-form concert works, but he assembled a band with Jack Six on bass and Alan Dawson playing drums. Gerry Mulligan, whom his friend Desmond once described as “the consummate prima donna bandleader,” put aside his own leadership and a fraction of his ego to tour with Brubeck. When Desmond joined them, they often played one of his favorite Mulligan pieces, “Line For Lyons,” as they did in a performance at the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1972. This clip, new to me, materialized on You Tube in the past few days.
Desmond was costumed in the glen plaid garment known as The Suit, nearly inseparable from him in his later years. We get closeups of both in another performance from the Berlin Festival. Paul is featured on a ballad he cherished, “For All We Know.”
Have a good weekend.