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25 November 1924
San Francisco, California, United States
30 May 1977 (aged 52)
Paul Desmond (November 25, 1924 - May 30, 1977) was a jazz saxophonist and composer. He came to prominence with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, which lasted from 1951 until 1967. Desmond even penned their biggest hit, "Take Five."
Desmond's alto saxophone tone and technique owed nothing to the great alto player of the time, Charlie Parker; instead his was a clear, light, floating sound and highly melodic playing style. Much of the success of the classic Quartet was due to the superposition of his fragile, airy sound over Brubeck's sometimes relatively heavy, polytonal piano work.
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