Mosaic Records reports that the first release of Paul Desmond–The Complete 1975 Toronto Recordings has sold out. The seven-CD set features the former Dave Brueck Quartet alto saxophonist with his prized Canadian rhythm section of guitarist Ed Bickert, bassist Don Thompson and drummer Jerry Fuller. Mosaic’s Michael Cuscuna says that he expects the next batch of pressings to be available by the end of May.
When after 17 years together the Brubeck Quartet disbanded, Desmond vacationed in the Caribbean, then retired to enjoy New York City, his home since, and long before, the Brubeck group disbanded. A notable exception was when he teamed with Bickert, Thompson and Fuller for a bit of touring that included engagements at Bourbon Street, the Toronto club whose congenial atmosphere was perfect for Desmond’s relaxed approach and the ingenious variations he lavished on standard songs and original compositions including his own “Take Five” and “Wendy.” Bassist Thompson applied his audio engineering skills to recording the group at Bourbon Street. As I mention in the album notes, Desmond accepted the Canterino family’s offer to play at the Half Note in New York because, as he put it, the club was so near his apartment that he could practically fall out of bed and onto the bandstand. Toronto wasn’t so conveniently nearby, but he loved playing Bourbon Street. From an earlier release of some of the tracks, here are Desmond, Bickert, Thompson and Fuller with “Wendy.”
When the seven CDs of the Mosaic Bourbon Street set are again available, they will be found at: http://www.mosaicrecords.com/prodinfo.asp?number=269-MD-CD. It’s good to have them back.