Bruce Babad, A Tribute to Paul Desmond (Primrose Lane).
Alto saxophonist Babad approximates Desmond’s relaxation and lyricism without imitating him. From a pure sound standpoint, in the melody choruses of “Wendy,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Take Five” and other pieces associated with Desmond, he is almost eerily like his predecessor, but in the blowing choruses his harmonic approach and tonal characteristics earmark his individuality. Babad’s quotes may not quite achieve Desmond’s sly subversiveness, but they are literate and entertaining. His “Jan” is a lovely ballad, his “B.A.B.A.D” a witty “I Got Rhythm” contrafact. Guitarist Larry Koonse, pianist Ed Czach, bassist Luther Hughes and drummer Steve Barnes are superb. This is a sleeper.