Rifftides reader Frank Roellinger reports that a YouTube watcher who goes by the handle Swel1954 has identified a quote in Desmond’s celebrated solo on “The Way You Look Tonight” from Jazz At Oberlin. Swel1954 may not be the first to think he recognized a bit of “La Cucaracha”* in that masterpiece of joyful improvisation. Still, Mr. Roellinger’s message gives us a perfect reason to let you hear the solo. Here is the introduction to it from a May, 2013 Rifftides post.
For decades, only listeners who owned the 1953 10-inch vinyl Fantasy LP of the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Jazz At Oberlin have been able to hear Desmond soaring unedited through chorus after breathtaking chorus of “The Way You Look Tonight.” It is a matter of conjecture why Fantasy cut a minute of the solo when they expanded the album to a 12-inch LP. All subsequent CD reissues perpetuated the cut. In any case, over the years most people have missed the portion of the solo that runs from 1:12 to 2:11 in the video below. Recently, a YouTube contributor known as Kocn53 liberated the complete solo from his copy of the 10-inch LP. He illustrated it with the cover of the 12-inch album. On the left we’re showing you the cover of the original LP, which had only four tracks. Fantasy added “How High the Moon” to the expanded release. How about a public service award for Kocn35, whoever he or she may be.
*(Following the initial posting of this piece, saxophonist, composer and arranger Bill Kirchner, always alert to such matters, pointed out that what Swel1954 pegged as a “La Cucaracha” quote at 1:44 is in fact a snippet of “Mexican Hat Dance.” Si, es verdad.)
Paul Desmond, 1924-1977