Search - Paul Desmond :: Easy Living

Easy Living
Paul Desmond
Easy Living
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Paul Desmond
Title: Easy Living
Members Wishing: 6
Total Copies: 0
Label: RCA
Original Release Date: 8/21/1990
Re-Release Date: 8/13/1990
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Style: Cool Jazz
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 078635230628

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CD Reviews

The best of Desmond's Jim Hall quartet recordings
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Easy Living indeed. Desmond recorded five or six albums in the form of a quartet with Jim Hall, and while "Take Ten" may be the classic, this one is by far the best. With this album, the quartet was (for the most part) him, Jim Hall on guitar, Connie Kay (from the Modern Jazz Quartet) on drums, and Eugene Wright, Desmond's pal from the Dave Brubeck quartet, on bass. One would be hard pressed to find a line up that sounded more comfortable playing together than this one. With this album, Desmond found the perfect match between the cool sound and songs that swing. He throws in a few moody, beautiful tracks, but for the most part has some fun with songs like "That Old Feeling," departing into long, wild (yet, in true Desmond fashion, controlled) solos. Added bonus: Eugene Wright wrote the final number on this album, a bonus track titled "Rude Old Man" and gets his much deserved time in the spotlight with some excellent (and even slightly funky) bass playing. Desmond released a few excellent albums, a few of which I even prefer to this one, but none of them were able to obtain a balance between moody and fun like this Easy Living was."
Really pretty sax/guitar/bass/drums...
William E. Adams | Midland, Texas USA | 12/04/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"While this release has no unforgettable masterpiece such as "Take Five" and isn't as outstanding as the "Paul Desmond Quartet Live" album from the mid-70's, it is lovely in its own right. The 10 songs, nearly an hour's worth, were captured between 1963 and '65. Paul and Jim Hall mix the ballads and the gentle but lively moments quite well, and the result is always satisfying. Call it mood music or easy listening or smooth jazz or lounge style if you want, but those labels are not adequate, because the talents of the quartet (actually, three different bass players) are so great. Desmond and guitarist Hall and drummer Connie Kay are on all ten numbers. Bass-playing duty is shared by Eugene Wright (five songs, and he wrote the finale) and Percy Heath (three tunes) and Eugene Cherico (two selections.) This album is surprisingly heavy on bass participation. My favorites are "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" from "My Fair Lady" and "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", but all of them are good. I recommend, if you want to explore Paul Desmond, that you begin with "Time Out" by the Dave Brubeck Quartet and add the "Desmond Live" as soon as you can afford to. "Easy Living", good as it is, is a notch behind his work on the aforementioned discs."
Falling "Easy" Into That Sweet Groove
Kevin Currie-Knight | Newark, Delaware | 08/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"While I like the Dave Brubeck Quartet, the truth is that I always thought that, instrumentally-speaking, Desmond was its core. And - another truth - I always found Desmond's light and lyrical approach very superior to Brubecks pounding solos. So, I was always curious to find out what Desmond could produce sans Brubeck. This album is my answer: he was able to produce immensely sparkling and emotionally compelling music.

Here we have Desmond at his "easiest" and lightest. But don't construe that, in any way, to mean the songs displayed here are boring. Quite the contrary. Desmond's solos are simultenously light AND compelling; same goes for Jim Hall's guitar work. Really, all of the musicians (all the way down to Connie Kay's impeccable swing) exhibit extraordinary taste - the kind that can, in the right moments, give you shivers.

Another thing to note on this record is how remarkably tight the quartet (with revolving bassists) is. While it can be said that Brubeck's quartet is one of the greats, this one has its moments of synergy as well, as their "Bewitched" will very easily demonstrate. And it is not only the synergy, but the instrumentation. For my money, Desmond's sax sounds better on top of Hall's guitar than Brubeck's heavy piano.

Highlights? The aforementioned "Bewitched" is the song I alluded to about shivers. "Blues for Fun" is exactly that - a very fun and playful blues. "when Joanna Loved Me" is another shining example of the coolness that Desmond and co. are capable of. And to cap it off, the bonus track - "Rude Old Man" swings like nobody's business.

If you want some very pretty jazz in a very cool style, this effort by Desmond and his quartet is not to be passed up.