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SKYLARK
Paul Desmond
Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: November 27-28 and December 4, 1973

Paul Desmond (as) Bob James (el-p); Gabor Szabo, Gene Bertoncini (g); Ron Carter (b); Jack DeJohnette (d); Don Sebesky (arr,supervise).

a. Take Ten (Paul Desmond) - 6:04

same as above, add Ralph MacDonald (perc), Don Sebesky (arr,adapt).

b. Romance De Amor (trad.) - 9:37

Paul Desmond (as) Bob James (el-p); Gene Bertoncini (g); Ron Carter (b); Jack DeJohnette (d); Ralph MacDonald (perc); Don Sebesky (arr,supervise).

c. Was A Sunny Day (Paul Simon) - 4:41

same as above without Ralph MacDonald and add George Ricci (cello); Don Sebesky (arr,adapt).

d. Music For A While (Henry Purcell) - 6:43

same as above, except Gabor Szabo (g) replaces George Ricci.

e. Music For A While (alt take) - 5:53

Paul Desmond (as); Bob James (p); Gene Bertoncini (g); Ron Carter (b); Jack DeJohnette (d), Don Sebesky (arr,adapt).

f. Skylark (H. Carmichael/J. Mercer) - 5:15

same as above without Bob James.

g. Skylark (alt take) - 5:37
h. Indian Summer (V. Herbert) - 3:48

Paul Desmond (as); Gabor Szabo (g); Ron Carter (b); Jack DeJohnette (d).

i. Indian Summer (alt take) - 5:28

Note: (1) "Take Ten" recorded November 27, 1973. (2) "Romance de Amor" recorded November 28, 1973. (3) "Was A Sunny Day" and "Skylark" recorded December 4, 1973.

Issues: a-d & f on CTI 6039, CTI (E) CTH 1003, One Way (Br) OW-594, CTI (Jap) SR-3359, CTI (Jap) LAX-3183, CTI (Jap) K20P-6817, CTI (Jap) K32Y-6148 [CD], CTI (Jap) KICJ-8271 [CD], CTI (Jap) KICJ-8310 [CD], CTI (Jap) KICJ-2183 [CD]. a-d & f also on Parnasso (Arg) PNE-10011 titled ALONDRA. a-f & h on CBS Associated ZK-44170 [CD], Epic EPC 460836-2 [CD]. a-i on Legacy ZK 65133 [CD]. 
Samplers: a also on Epic/Legacy (E) 5022872 [CD], Epic/Legacy E2K-86364 [CD] titled CTI - THE MASTER COLLECTION, Blue Note 72434-94893-2-5 [CD] titled CBC's AFTER HOURS JAZZ COLLECTION VOLUME 3, Irma (It) 507985-2 [CD] titled THE MORNING SIDE OF LOVE - A COLLECTION OF CHILL OUT GROOVES FROM THE PAST, Sony (Fr) SMM 516042 2 [CD] titled CTI LA LÉGENDE and Sony Music Media (Fr) SMM 517118 2 [CD] titled GUITAR & BASS (as by Ron Carter). a-c & f also on Epic/Legacy ZK 45484 [CD] titled THE BEST OF PAUL DESMOND.
b also on CTI (Jap) K16P-9033/4 titled CTI DOUBLE GOLD SUPERDISC, CBS Associated ZK 44177 [CD] titled FIRE INTO MUSIC: VOLUME 4 (1988) and Sony JK-64843 [CD] titled SAX FOR LOVERS (1996).  c also on CTI (Jap) GXC-3005/6 titled SEBESKY FANTASY and Kudu (Jap) KICP-628 [CD] titled TOUCH HIS SOUL: JAZZ & FUNK RECOMMENDED. e also on CBS Associated ZK 44175 [CD] titled CLASSICS IN JAZZ. f also on Label M 495175 [CD] titled LEMME TELL YA 'BOUT DESMOND, Realm A3K 58872 [CD] titled CTI JAZZ CLASSICS and Roving Spirits (Jap) RKCJ-4005 [CD] titled BASSIC CROSSOVER - TOMOHITO AOKI PRESENTS CTI/KUDU PRIVATE SELECTION.
Producer: Creed Taylor
Engineer: Rudy Van Gelder
Notes: N/A (LP). John Snyder (CBS Associated ZK-44170 [CD]). Steve Futterman (Legacy ZK 65133 [CD]).


Paul Desmond's solo career, much of it guided by Creed Taylor from 1968 though 1974, was not dictated by risk-taking. The alto-saxophonist became famed while with Dave Brubeck's quartet for pretty intonation and witty interjections. SKYLARK is an exception. This outstanding late-1973 date was the first of two records Desmond recorded for CTI under his own name (he was also featured on projects by Don Sebesky, Jim Hall and Chet Baker). What makes it so unusual is the addition of guitarist Gabor Szabo. Unlike Desmond's past partner in crime, Jim Hall (or Canadian Ed Bickert shortly thereafter) Szabo was not an obvious accompanist (it was Creed Taylor's idea, having just signed the guitarist to CTI). Szabo's jangled runs, metallic tone and unusual conceptions seemed opposed to Desmond's pretty playing and polite witticism. Oddly though, Desmond is more ideally suited to guitarist Gene Bertoncini, who sticks to playing acoustic rhythm throughout. Szabo gets the solos -- and he plays brilliantly, even poetically throughout (formerly only on the brilliant "Take Ten" and the mysterious "Romance de Amour" - and now also on alternate takes of "Skylark" and "Indian Summer"). To compound it, drummer Jack DeJohnette was hardly suited to Desmond either. The busy, polyphonic, near-brilliant percussion cues evidenced here are hardly the sort of thing Desmond would have expected from Joe Morello or Connie Kay. What holds it all together is Fender Rhodes man Bob James and, of course, bassist Ron Carter. Together, the two conspire to wed the traditional beauty of Desmond and Bertoncini with the exotica of Szabo and DeJohnette into quite potent, hypnotic performances. SKYLARK is strong, beautiful work that provides an elegant platform for Desmond's talents (more than the ho-hum follow-up, PURE DESMOND) and offers one of the best, most interesting jazz records of the early 1970s.

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