In todayâ€™s San Francisco Chronicle, Jesse Hamlin has an article about Paul Desmond. In it, I am happy to report, he is kind to Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond and mentions that I will be signing copies of the book a week from today at the Monterey Jazz Festival.
Hamlin sought out San Francisco musicians who worked with Desmond in his pre-Dave Brubeck Quartet days of the 1940s, and spices his piece with their recollections. Here are two of them:
Guitarist Eddie Duran hired Desmond whenever he could for his band. “He was so inventive,” Duran said. “He was so aware of harmonies. He could just weave in and out of them. When he improvised, he didn’t trash the melody; he kept the context of the original melody and created new melodies. He had taste. And total mastery.”
“He was always extremely lyrical, his time was good and he had that tone. He was a pure player,” recalled trumpeter Johnny Coppola, who worked with Desmond in the Bay Area band of Billy Shuart in the late ’40s. “He always sounded beautiful,” added Coppola’s wife, Frances Lynne, who sang with Desmond and Brubeck at the Band Box and the Geary Cellar. “Nobody got a sound like he did.”
The headline on Hamlinâ€™s Chronicle story is long and accurate. Click on it and you can read the article: Paul Desmond’s sound was like a dry martini, and his melodies flowed like sweet wine.