Many of his fans will argue that Paul Desmond was at his best on those rare occasions when he worked outside the context of the Dave Brubeck Quartet. There are precious few such sessions documented on record, and the three collected here were the first to be issued under the alto saxophonist’s name. They offer a cogent summary of jazz in the pre-hard-bop Fifties, with classical fugues on the three-horn quintet session (with compositions by tenor saxophonist Dave Van Kriedt), the pianoless Gerry Mulligan Quartet echoes in the more extended blowing tracks with Don Elliott, and even a hint of the contemporary "Bird with Voices" date on four tracks featuring a vocal choir. Desmond’s alto is elegant as ever (and more impassioned than usual on "Sacré Blues"). The liner notes, by Desmond and Mort Sahl, are witty bonuses.
with Dick Collins, Dave Van Kriedt, Jack Weeks, Barney Kessel, Bob Bates, Joe Dodge, Norm Bates, Joe Chevrolet, The Bill Bates Singers