🎷 AotW: Jazz Paul Desmond, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" SP-3032

Jazz releases not on the CTi or Horizon labels.

Captain Bacardi

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Thread Starter
Paul Desmond
BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER

A&M SP3032

sp3032.jpg

Released 1970
Peaked at #4 on Jazz Charts (1971)

Format: Vinyl/8-Track/Cassette/CD

Produced and Arranged by Don Sebesky

Songs:
  • 1. El Condor Pasa - 3:01
    2. So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright - 3:30
    3. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) - 5:10
    4. Mrs. Robinson - 2:42
    5. Old Friends - 4:25
    6. America - 4:56
    7. For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her - 4:00
    8. Scarborough Fair/Canticle - 4:22
    9. Cecilia - 2:12
    10. Bridge Over Troubled Water - 3:25

    All songs written by Paul Simon

Musicians:
Paul Desmond - Alto Sax
Herbie Hancock - Electric Piano
Ron Carter - String Bass
Jerry Jemott - Fender Bass
Airto Moreira - Drums
Joao Palma - Drums
Bill Lavorgna - Drums
Sam Brown - Guitar
Gene Bertomcinni - Guitar

Art Direction: Tom Wilkes
Photography: Kessel/Brehm Photography



Capt. Bacardi
 

snapcrotch

New Member
Easily one of my Top 5 Desert Island Discs. The most gorgeous, sumptuous blending of pop tunes in an instrumental format -- performed by a master of alto sax with the best of NYC studio musicians and an arranger at the top of his game. 'Sine qua non', it's never been equalled, let alone surpassed. And inexplicably unavailable on CD (!!!).
 

snapcrotch

New Member
And did I mention the words 'tasty' and 'urbane' in the above entry?
Airto Moreira and Herbie Hancock supply the above as only they can do.
I gotta ask: was there EVER a 'jazz' instrumental album of pop hits by, say... the Beatles, Burt Bacharach, Jobim, or Michel Legrand to come CLOSE to this? Somehow Paul Simon's compositions lend themselves, melodically and rhythmically, to interpretation on a higher plane -- and this is definitively it.
 

Rudy

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There are other good, tastefully-done "cover" albums...this one's in good company. :) In fact, it's where I first heard S&G tunes as a youngster. I already knew the melodies, which made it easier to learn the lyrics many years later.

I don't know why, but I always associate S&G's music with days like today...sort of cold, rainy, rather grey.

This album is a curiosity. Presumably Desmond would have been under contract to A&M/CTi. This is his last one on A&M, but it does not carry the CTi imprint. It's also the first without Creed Taylor. However, he would go on to the relocated CTi label and record more albums.
 

jimac51

New Member
This is one of those albums that some critics fluffed off as just a cover album of music many fell is not that musical away from the lyrics. Downbeat,however,gave this album five stars immediately and repeated listenings just show how great the pairing of Desmond to Simon's music works so well. "Old Friends" still brings tears(and having recently lost an old friend while plodding deeper in middle age,it cuts real close). A second chorus of boos to Univeral a major embarassment(one of many) that this is not available on CD.Mac
 

snapcrotch

New Member
To say "goodbye" you could also sink into 'So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright'. The track that totally cripples/slays/kills me is 'For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her'. The first 60 seconds is only Paul on alto and Herbie on electric piano...and it is devastating.
Sorry Rudy, nobody else did an entire LP of covers by a single pop composer on THIS level of astute brilliance.
 

Rudy

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Maybe someone who likes this album enough to spend $29.49 on it can try ordering it from Amazon. :D I did a search there for Summertime and, lo and behold, they showed Bridge available as one of their two-item buys with Summertime. Do a search for "paul desmond bridge" and it'll come up. No image, though.

I did check other import sources but did NOT find this, so there's a chance it could be an erroneous listing at Amazon. But I DID recall that it was available as a rare import a few years ago. I think William (our resident Paul Desmond nut) would know if there's a CD of it or not.

FWIW, HMV Japan shows Summertime readily available, and even Dusty Groove has it in stock.
 

William

New Member
Hey... Bridge is on CD as POCM-5067. I bought my copy of it here:

http://www.mediawars.ne.jp/~mundo/collect/file/p-desmond.html

...about 18 months ago. And I haven't been the same since.

What can I say about an album like this? Paul's playing is at its absolute best, and in this period (as on his other early '70s recordings) his tone was sporting a bit more of a Lee Konitz-like edge than before. Herbie, Ron and Airto are in my opinion the best rhythm section Desmond ever played with; their almost "outside" ministrations make for a very unusual but wholly satisfying mix with Desmond's very "inside" approach. This grouping holds up much better to my ears than, say, Herbie, Ron and Billy Cobham's playing with Milt Jackson on Milt's CTi album Sunflower, where the ryhthm players completely outshine the leader. On Bridge, the cross-generational lineup is completely together, playing with stunning empathy throughout.

Several moments on the album always make me tear up. The duration of "For Emily...", particularly the orchestral swell in the finale, gets me every time. (The fact that I was once very fond of someone named Emily helps a lot too.) "Old Friends," of course, has made me bawl many a time--particularly at the very end, when Desmond repeats a heartbreakingly beautiful seven-note phrase a couple of times. I've also been known to shed tears of joy during Paul's multiple overdubbed solos in "Feelin' Groovy," simply because the contrapuntal melodies he plays are among the most perfectly devised lines I've ever heard in any recorded jazz improvisation.

From the interviews with Paul that I've read, it seems that he didn't think this album was a big deal. He was wrong; it's a perfect statement in music, one which deserves much wider exposure.

IMHO. :D
 

Rudy

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Some import sites are not showing this CD, so I would suggest that anyone who wants it should probably order the first copy they find. This goes back to the early days of CD, when my standard procedure was to buy it immediately if I saw it. The few I passed up, I've regretted missing out on. :sad:
 

JMK

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Just catching up with this thread--we actually discussed this CD at length on the old Board. I remember someone mentioned it (Richard somebody?) and I got it almost immediately from Thoughtscape (or perhaps after it became Melody Blvd.). It wasn't part of that "first wave" of Japanese POCM CD releases, it's only been out maybe two years or so, so hopefully some online places still have it. One of my all-time faves.
 

wallyaudio

New Member
I was introduced to the BOTW album when it was released via the great Chicago radio station WSDM...which played it heavily. I've worn out 2 viynl copies and my third copy is the British import version, found for a couple of bucks at used record store.

I'm assuming that the engineering was by Rudy Van Gelder who did all the great Blue Note sides.

It's a great album, and if I can find it on CD I'll be one happy camper.
Worth the import price too if that's the only way it's available.
 

Rudy

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I may have mentioned at one time that I prefer From The Hot Afternoon over the others, but I still want to have all three on CD regardless. It has been years since I've really listened to Bridge. :)
 

Dave

Well-Known Member
FROM THE HOT AFTERNOON overrides everything Desmond that I have. (With possible exception of SKYLARK, featuring Gabor Szabo)

Never the less, I think the material is properly chosen and arrangements are well done. Unusual to see "Bridge" done as the last track--S&G put the title-song first.

Think a Pete Turner cover shot--there's gotta be a LOT in his file!--would've been a LOT more appropriate for the cover. But I suppose "Kessel/Brehm" will pass.

Covering A Single Artist's Work on ONE ALBUM is not always my cup'a tea, but I, again, as I hear the "Fanfare" on "America", think The Desmond Treatment of The Simon & Garfunkel catalog is right on the money!

And for my money, worth going through a number of copies to find one (with an ocre label, yet!) that plays PERFECTLY--even some newer Tan & Silver labeled copies couldn't cut it--!!

Of particular interests of an Artist's Catalog Improvised as Instrumentals on One LP, I would suggest Hugo Montenegro's versions of Elton John (ROCKET MAN, which sports "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, even, as well as an original composition or two, by Hugo's son, John), Neil Diamond (NEIL'S DIAMONDS), Bob Dylan (DAWN OF DYLAN) and Stevie Wonder (HUGO IN WONDERLAND). Couldn't find WONDERLAND on vinyl, so have that on CD.

Dave

...wishing it were just a LITTLE bit lighter out, as Paul Desmond's BRIDGE plays...
 

Dave

Well-Known Member
Pretty much, what I wrote in the Original "First-Run" Thread of this "Jazz Album of the Week" really sums it up for right now...:

FROM THE HOT AFTERNOON overrides everything Desmond that I have. (With possible exception of SKYLARK, featuring Gabor Szabo)

Never the less, I think the material is properly chosen and arrangements are well done. Unusual to see "Bridge" done as the last track--S&G put the title-song first.

Think a Pete Turner cover shot--there's gotta be a LOT in his file!--would've been a LOT more appropriate for the cover. But I suppose "Kessel/Brehm" will pass.

Covering A Single Artist's Work on ONE ALBUM is not always my cup'a tea, but I, again, as I hear the "Fanfare" on "America", think The Desmond Treatment of The Simon & Garfunkel catalog is right on the money!

And for my money, worth going through a number of copies to find one (with an ocre label, yet!) that plays PERFECTLY--even some newer Tan & Silver labeled copies couldn't cut it--!!

Of particular interests of an Artist's Catalog Improvised as Instrumentals on One LP, I would suggest Hugo Montenegro's versions of Elton John (ROCKET MAN, which sports "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, even, as well as an original composition or two, by Hugo's son, John), Neil Diamond (NEIL'S DIAMONDS), Bob Dylan (DAWN OF DYLAN) and Stevie Wonder (HUGO IN WONDERLAND). Couldn't find WONDERLAND on vinyl, so have that on CD.

Dave

...wishing it were just a LITTLE bit lighter out, as Paul Desmond's BRIDGE plays...



Dave
 

Rudy

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Having listened to it recently, it is a little too buried in strings/horns for my taste, and it's not as good as I remember. A few standouts like "El Condor Pasa", but nothing special. Creed Taylor had departed A&M before this album came out...maybe Desmond should have followed him sooner.
 

seashorepiano

Active Member
Agreed with Rudy here. This is a mediocre album- don't know what inspired Desmond to do it. "Old Friends" is nice; the rest is ... lame.
 

Dave

Well-Known Member
Yes, you're kind'a right about "Lame" and somehow Desmond needed Creed as much as Creed probably needed him... :yawn:



Dave
 

seashorepiano

Active Member
Admittedly, it pains me to call anything recorded by Desmond "lame," but in this case, this album is really beneath him.
 

Rudy

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Agreed--I'd hate to call it lame. It actually isn't TOO bad, but at this later date, it seems like a road bump in his string of recordings. It almost feels like contract fulfillment--cover some of the hot popular songs of the day, with S&G being the central theme. The idea itself isn't bad--I'd listen to Desmond play the phone book at this point. I feel the backing strings and horns bury the arrangements. Too heavy-handed, making it sound more like funked-up muzak than jazz. The core group by itself would have made one tasty recording out of this project.
 

Captain Bacardi

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
I think this is an okay album. Nothing spectacular. I did like what Desmond did on "El Condor Pasa", and also dig the 5/4 version of "Scarborough Fair". (Anyone else notice the little homage to "Take Five" by Desmond towards the end of this song?) I really thought they were going somewhere on "America", but it didn't quite get there. Other than that, this is some very light stuff. Because it's Paul Desmond I give it 3 stars.




Capt. Bacardi
 

PartyRico

New Member
For my $$, I could even listen to Paul Desmond playing scales. "Summertime", "Pure Desmond", and "From The Hot Afternoon are the "bomb"! These 3 recordings are his best A&M sessions in my book. :) Aside from the fact that Desmond is somewhat "buried in the mix", these S&G tunes are worth having.
 

shaft

New Member
Well I just love this one!! Sheer beauty and finely arranged and superlative playing from Mr Desmond. :thumbsup:
/Shaft
 

Rudy

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Here's a little tidbit I learned from reading a Simon & Garfunkel bio. On their version of "59th Street Bridge Song", do the drums and bass sound familiar? Jazz fans, listen again closely, and think of jazz on Columbia in the late 50s.

Hint: they are somewhat related (musically) to Paul Desmond... :wink: (If you already know, don't ruin the surprise!)
 
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