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Friday, December 26, 2008

Jazz profiles: Dave Brubeck (and Paul Desmond)

I've raved a number of times about National Public Radio's superb jazz profiles series, but they have really outdone themselves this time with the latest installment, on Dave Brubeck. The program is an unusually skillful blend of music and interviews (including with Brubeck himself), which is saying a lot considering the series' already outstanding production values.

Particularly well done are the segments explaining Brubeck's jazz innovations (very educational for amateurs like me) and the portrayal of his complicated collaboration with alto sax player and composer Paul Desmond, who wrote the classic "Take Five." Desmond himself makes a brief interview appearance, in which he explains how he and Brubeck almost left out the bridging segment of "Take Five" which probably ended up being the key to its tremendous commercial success.

While Googling around, I found this very interesting Web site devoted to Desmond, worth checking out--and be sure to download the profile at the link above.

Photo: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

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