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Doug Ramsey: Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond (Parkside Publications)

Kirk Silsbee, LA CityBeat, 18 August 2005

HE GAVE UP writing because playing jazz seemed like an easier way to make a living.  In the era dominated by Charlie Parker, he developed an alto saxophone style that owed almost nothing to Parker.  He was famous the world over for alluring, soft-edged alto rhapsodies that flew directly in the face of his musical surroundings.  He gave jazz an enduring hit single ('Take Five') in 1961, when there were no jazz hit singles.  His one humorous essay, ("How Many of You Are There in The Quartet?") whetted literary appetites for a book that never came.  His stated ambitions were to achieve the sound of a dry martini and to get to know all of the models on his album covers in the Biblical sense.

Total word count of piece: 1419

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