Paul Desmond

Edmonton Festival '76


Paul Desmond (as), Ed Bickert (g), Don Thompson (b), Jerry Fuller (d)

Reference: 69280

Bar code: 8436028692804

A previously unknown concert by Paul Desmond's Canadian Quartet and Desmond's next to last recording ever.

Paul Desmond formed his Canadian quartet in early 1975 after several years of relative inactivity. The group's earliest known recordings consist of radio broadcasts from Toronto's Bourbon Street Club on March 29 of that year.

Two subsequent live recordings at that venue (in October/November 1975 - some of which would be issued by Desmond himself on the album Live) and a sole version of "Emily" (filmed at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September 1975) marked the complete discography of the quartet until now.

This Edmonton concert, therefore, constitutes a very important addition to the limited body of work of Desmond's Canadian Quartet. It was also the final recorded live performance from the legendary saxophonist's illustrious career. Desmond would only be captured on records on four occasions after the aforementioned 1975 concerts: six titles taped in Michigan on March 10, 1976 during a reunion tour by the Dave Brubeck quartet, a further title by the same group taped in Indiana two days later, the previously unissued Edmonton concert presented here (recorded on April 14, 1976, this is the last known recording by Paul's Canadian quartet) and a studio album with Chet Baker made between February 16 and May 13, 1977. Desmond died two weeks later, on May 30 of that same year.

Includes a 16-page booklet containing a review of this concert published the following day, as well as an amazing Desmond interview taped right after the concert was performed. Marvellous music in excellent sound quality.

03. WAVE 13:28
05. WENDY 10:45
06. TAKE FIVE 7:04

Total time: 61:23 min.

Paul Desmond (as), Ed Bickert (g), Don Thompson (b) and Jerry Fuller (d).
Recorded at the Edmonton Jazz Festival, Canada, on April 14, 1976


"It is also beyond question that the Desmond sound dares comparison. It is pure, tasty, catchy, delicate and true. In an age of change, these unique qualities of the artist remain. And how do you improve on perfection?"

Edmonton Journal

"Since Paul Desmond's death in 1977, there have been only a handful of previously unissued recordings released under his name, though this previously unreleased concert from the Edmonton Festival in 1976 may possibly be his final recorded date as a leader. With the same Canadian trio that joined him for his sessions at Toronto's Bourbon Street in 1975 (guitarist Ed Bickert, bassist Don Thompson, and drummer Jerry Fuller), the alto saxophonist is in a typically swinging mood, with his dry tone and lyrical playing buoyed by the terrific rhythm section. Desmond is up to his usual tricks, inserting in sly quotes from time to time. Bickert and Thompson, both recommended to Desmond by Jim Hall (who worked with him on a number of his earlier albums), provide intuitive backdrops that support the leader while also contributing stunning solos themselves. Most of the songs had long been part of Desmond's repertoire, though Thompson's mystical, droning East Indian solo in "Take Five" (similar to the version that appears on the CD Paul Desmond Quartet Live) takes the leader's signature tune in a different direction. The source is evidently an aircheck of a radio broadcast, as occasional minor flutter is audible, though the sound is excellent. The booklet contains a review of the performance that was published the following day, along with a transcription of a radio interview broadcast right after the concert [...]"

Ken Dryden -All Music Guide

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