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Artist Profile: Paul Desmond

Posted by Nathan Nutter at  | 0 comments Tags: dave brubeck, jazz, legend, mouthpiece, paul desmond, sax, saxophone, take five
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Jazz music is constantly building upon and celebrating the legacy of those who brought it from its humble American beginnings to one of the most influential art forms of the last 100 years.

Paul Desmond is one of those artists whose contributions to the genre are constantly being echoed by sax players across many genres of modern music, and Claude Lakey is proud to say that our mouthpiece in some small way, helped this jazz giant achieve his signature tone.

Before writing and recording the monumental jazz classic “Take Five” with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Desmond (born Paul Emil Breteinfeld) got his beginnings in San Francisco, where he studied clarinet and eventually the alto sax during his freshman year at San Francisco State College.

That same year he was drafted into the United States Army and joined the military band, but his unit was never called to combat.

Desmond met pianist Dave Brubeck while stationed in San Francisco where the two started jamming and playing in groups together. Inspired by Brubeck’s approach to music, they began their musical partnership at a San Francisco club called the Bandbox, but despite having success commercially, the two had a falling out and parted ways.

Brubeck’s new group received critical acclaim, and Desmond would soon return to San Francisco to beg entrance back into Brubeck’s group. He was welcomed back, but only after having to babysit Brubeck’s kids in return.

Reunited, the group went on to perform and record many famous renditions classic tunes "Perdido," "Wave", and 1959 released their now classic "Time Out" album including tracks "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo à La Turk," jazz standards still being played today.

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