|Globe and Mail,|
Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 1974
Desmond Arrival Historic Event
Applause was the first sound that Paul Desmond heard when he began to play the first song of his first set at Bourbon Street on Monday night. Nothing tumultuous, mind you, just warm, welcoming applause. The hand clappers were saying in effect that it was marvelous to have Desmond here in Toronto, marvelous to hear again the gentle, clear, elegant sound of his alto playing.
Desmond's appearance constitutes in a mild sort of way a historic event. He was of course the principal sideman in Dave Brubeck's extraordinarily popular quartet from 1951 until deep into the sixties. In the years since Desmond has been away from Brubeck, he has recorded albums and appeared often in concerts, but has not played in a nightclub. Not until this week.
From the very first set, Desmond established that his remarkably unique talents are entirely intact. He seemed a trifle tentative on the opening tune, Autumn Leaves, but through the rest of the set, through a particularly lovely version of All the Things You Are and a gently rousing treatment of Antonio Carlos Jobim's Waves, he spun out lines in the articulate discreet manner that is so familiar from all his records.
Most personal of all in Desmond's playing is his sound. If you tried hard, you might discern bits and pieces of Lee Konitz or Pete Brown in Desmond, but that's a wasteful game. Desmond is so entirely his own man that he makes you smile in pleasure when he plays.
Desmond is accompanied by an all-Toronto and all-star trio: Ed Bickert on guitar, Don Thompson on bass and Terry Clarke on drums. They seem superbly in tune with Desmond's music and will probably grow more so through the next couple of weeks.
-- Jack Batten